You can have the best catering equipment in the world, but if it’s not mounted on durable and resilient flooring, chefs are going to be slipping all over the place. Not only that, but you could fall foul of costly workplace regulations. FEJ reports on a company with a solution.
In busy food production and commercial kitchen environments with high traffic and frequent spillages of high viscosity contaminants, it is essential to specify flooring that will last the distance. Getting it wrong can mean having to replace flooring more regularly than necessary, which is generally a disruptive process for any operator.
Although it is not always recognised, there is actually legislation governing this area. Flooring for commercial kitchens which serve more than 100 covers a day must be fully compliant with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulations, meeting a classification of ‘low slip potential’. This is achieved through a result of 40+ in the Pendulum wet test and a surface roughness of 70 microns and above.
In these intensive areas, the regular spillage of cooking oil, grease and wet contaminants creates the potential for the formation of a squeeze film — in other words heavily compressed fluid trapped between shoe and floor, which prevents solid-to-solid contact and would pose a slip risk if incorrect flooring is specified.
This is designed for busy commercial and gourmet kitchen areas where there is regular spillage of the more viscous oil and grease”
One company that knows more about this than most is Polyflor, the Manchester-based provider of commercial floor-coverings. John Mellor, the company’s market manager for safety flooring (left), says the more viscous the contaminant, the higher level of surface roughness is required for the flooring to penetrate this squeeze film and achieve continued friction between foot and floor.
“In areas where contaminants are typically cooking oil or margarine, the floor needs to have a minimum surface roughness level of 70 microns so that this squeeze film is penetrated and underfoot safety is provided in these extreme conditions.”
Polyflor’s solution to this is Polysafe Apex flooring, a new and highly durable safety floor that provides sustainable wet slip resistance and is designed for use within busy kitchen locations.
“The hardwearing Polysafe Apex range is designed for busy commercial and gourmet kitchen areas or for industrial food processing environments where there is regular spillage of the more viscous oil and grease,” says Mellor. “The Apex range is particularly suited to fast food environments where frequent frying is undertaken.”
The Polysafe Apex flooring is available in a flexible sheet format to enable ease of coving and flexibility around drainage points. It can be welded at the seams with a colour co-ordinated weld rod to create an impermeable finish that ensures improved hygiene protection. As a result, it avoids the potential for cracked grout lines and subsequent dirt ingress. With the aggregates being incorporated within the performance layer of the product, continual slip resistance and added protection for employees is ensured.
And as Mellor points out, it ticks those all-important regulatory boxes. “This range meets the 50,000 cycles abrasion test to the European Safety Flooring Standard EN 13845, meaning that particles in the products are sustainable and offer longevity in performance,” he concludes.
The Polysafe Apex range features a 2.5mm gauge and is available in six functional shades in a solid base colour. A high concentration of traditional safety aggregates are contained within the vinyl to ensure sustainable wet slip resistance with high durability for years of performance.
Apex has a surface roughness of 70 microns and above, achieving a result of 45+ on the Pendulum Wet Test (4S Rubber/Slider 96), thereby meeting the category of ‘low-slip potential’ and ensuring HSE Compliance. Polysafe Apex also carries an R12 rating.