Slip, Trip, and Fall: Flooring Choices to Enhance Shop Safety

Blog / October 13, 2023


When it comes to the topic of setting up a business and choosing appropriate flooring, it is an area that is easy to neglect. Given the dire consequences of slips, trips, and falls if the wrong flooring is chosen, it is certainly a mistake to ignore flooring until it is too late. The importance of quality flooring stretches beyond that of safety and accident avoidance. It is something employees, business partners, and customers alike will notice and judge. Flooring can be an amazing asset to showcase your products and give a pervading feeling of quality, or it can make businesses look underwhelming, cheap, and somehow less professional.

When seeking a shopfitter in Melbourne who will never underestimate the impact or importance of appropriate flooring, look no further than 360 Shopfitters. In this article, we have gathered together some pertinent information about different types of flooring and some associated tips and advice from our experienced team members.

Slips

While it is not always true that slips are the result of poorly chosen flooring or insufficiently maintained flooring, it is a concept worthy of further consideration. There is no definitive answer to cover every possible scenario, but it seems fairly safe to assume most slips tend to occur when the surface is not suited to the circumstances at hand. Any surface that becomes unduly slippery when wet is dangerous in areas where liquids are common, so covering the floor of a food court with steel plates or glazed ceramic tiles would be an obvious recipe for disaster.

Trips and falls

When we look at cases of trips and falls, they are much less likely to be a result of an inappropriate surface for the task at hand. If we take carpets as a fine example, the chances of slipping on a carpet are virtually nil and it would, therefore, be considered a good, safe choice for areas where that may be an issue. However, if that carpet is not maintained and replaced when it grows threadbare or sections become unglued and stick up, we now have a tripping hazard. The surface itself was superbly chosen for the original brief, it’s just that it has been allowed to deteriorate over time and now poses a different kind of hazard.


Choosing the perfect flooring

Deciding on the right flooring for your commercial space is not always as straightforward as it seems and certain factors need to take precedence and guide your choices, namely:

  • Intended use
  • Safety
  • Design and style
  • Type of goods or services
  • Cost/expected durability

If the budget is limited, it might be possible to think creatively and use a mixture of solutions to achieve an interesting, cost-effective result. The key to this tactic is to remember the safety of anybody who walks on the surface in question is non-negotiable. Provided safety is taken into primary consideration and assured, your chosen shopfitters can exercise their creativity and juxtapose different materials with each other.

The advantages and disadvantages of typical retail flooring solutions

The type of flooring most appropriate for any public space depends largely on the exact intended uses of that space and how best to mitigate any risks of individuals slipping and injuring themselves. It is useless to have plush carpets in a hair salon or plastic matting in a high-end clothes emporium. The options when it comes to flooring are many and varied and it is important the end result is appropriate, not only in terms of practicality/safety but also in its impression and how it reflects on the products and services offered.

  • Carpet – Looks good and can be found to match any budget but has a relatively short lifespan and does not react well to spills. Carpet tiles negate this issue by being easy to replace when dirty but must be monitored to prevent them from riding up and causing a tripping hazard.
  • Natural hardwood timber – Many experienced shopfitters consider hardwood to be among the best flooring materials. It has the excellent combined properties of being exceptionally hardwearing, easy to clean/maintain, and classy and timeless in appearance, suiting almost any design scheme. The main issues with timber are that it can be slippery when wet if highly polished, is noisy to walk on, and is expensive to lay in the first place.
  • Vinyl – Easy to clean and available in a staggering variety of designs and styles, each suitable for different uses. Thicker vinyl tends to be softer and more slip-resistant, especially when aggregates are encased in the surface, making it popular in medical centres and commercial environments. Vinyl must be maintained and replaced fairly regularly, meaning longer-term running costs need to be taken into account.
  • Plastic matting – Interlocking sections provide superb drainage and a textured surface offers unmatched slip resistance. Great for bathrooms, locker/shower rooms, and kitchens but inappropriate for traditional retail environments as cleaning requires hosing down and the appearance is inelegant.
  • Laminate – An affordable, attractive option with excellent durability, scratch resistance, and low maintenance requirements. Laminate flooring is a popular, practical choice in almost any retail environment, even very high-traffic areas. However, it does not dampen sound and cannot really be repaired if damaged.

Contact us

If this all seems very involved and overwhelming, fear not because the team here at 360 Shopfitters are ready and waiting to give you their best advice and any assistance they can with your own shopfitting project. If you need the help of reputable, experienced, and skilled shopfitters in Melbourne, you have come to the right place.