Contract Flooring Journal (CFJ) the latest news for flooring contractors

Home> Forbo Flooring Systems <The benefits of safety flooring in healthcare environments

The benefits of safety flooring in healthcare environments

Daniel Wetzels explores how contractors can combine functionality, performance and aesthetics when looking at safety flooring.

Safety flooring can be an extremely important part of any interior flooring scheme, and none more so than in healthcare environments. However, your customers may consider more than just slip resistance in their specifications.

Here, I’ll explore how contractors can combine functionality, performance and aesthetics when looking at safety flooring.

When considering flooring in healthcare, there is one key fact: safety is paramount. Preventing injuries from slips, trips and falls, whether that be for patients, staff or visitors, is extremely important for hospitals, care homes and other healthcare buildings.

In fact, a recent study showed that in 2021 slips, trips and falls on the same level accounted for around 390 non-fatal healthcare incidents and were the second highest reported accident trigger in this sector. As a result, safety flooring is a must, especially when looking at busy environments such as those seen in most healthcare facilities.

With this in mind, there are various factors that contractors must be aware of. Of course, one of the most important is the slip resistance of a floorcovering. This can be measured through one of two ways. First is the pendulum test value (PTV), with a PTV of 36 or higher classified as a low slip risk; while the ‘ramp test’, or R rating, has a minimum rating of R9 and a maximum of R13.

By ensuring floorcoverings satisfy the needs of the specific area they’re being installed in, you can make sure the eventual end-users’ safety is being catered for.

Another key consideration for many of your clients will be design. A common misconception around safety flooring is that you cannot achieve high-level performance and visual aesthetics. However, thanks to recent developments, there are now a wider range of colourways to select from, including realistic stone and modern wood effect designs.

This can be ideal for high-end private healthcare facilities, or for where your client simply wishes to create a less clinical environment.

Safety flooring designs can be even more critical in care home environments, especially those catering for people living with dementia or similar neurodiverse conditions. Here, it’s important to consider the designs available in a collection.

Traditionally, safety floorcoverings haven’t always been deemed suitable for use in dementia care facilities, due to the particles which give the flooring its slip resistance properties. This can often be seen as too ‘shiny’ or even wet to care home residents, impacting on the way they move around a space.

However, thanks to recent innovations there are now new products that can meet the need for dementia-friendly designs, while still delivering HSE compliant slip resistance.

For example, Forbo’s new Surestep Balance range, containing eight neutral colourways with a subtle speckled effect, which also offers an R10 slip resistance.

Another important consideration is installation. When performing renovation works in healthcare environments, time is of the essence. With spaces in near constant use, there is very little opportunity for downtime. For this reason, adhesive-free options can make all the difference, being far quicker to fit.

With no need for adhesive or tackifier, solutions such as Forbo’s Surestep Fast Fit can reduce installation time by over 50%, and the flooring can even be walked on immediately after installation – an obvious benefit for the healthcare sector.

Not only this, but the absence of traditional adhesives means there are no potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) leftover after installation, or lingering bad odours.

Additionally, ensuring the floorcovering you put forwards can withstand the chemicals used to clean it is key. By looking for collections that have hardwearing top layers, or specialised surface coatings you can ensure they won’t become discoloured over time while positively contributing to efficient cleaning and maintenance regimes.

As well as this, some suppliers, such as Forbo, are on NHS frameworks like ProCure 23, showing they’re already a trusted supplier for healthcare environments. While safety is, understandably so, at the top of many specifiers’ lists, finding flooring options that can also meet aesthetic and installation needs is beneficial too.

Not only from the perspective of reducing time on site, but also for improving the wellbeing of those using the interior spaces. For more information about Forbo’s newly refreshed Step safety vinyl collection.
Daniel Wetzels, client account manager for healthcare from Forbo Flooring Systems

Please click to view more articles about

Stay Connected




Popular articles