Public safety in areas of large footfall, such as train stations, airports and other urban infrastructure is absolutely crucial, writes David Hockley, Area Technical Manager at global building products manufacturer, Sika
Flooring has a major part to play in reducing the risk of trips and falls, which can lead to serious injury. Such incidents have consequences for the victim in the possible form of long-term physical and mental stress, whilst the company itself could be subject to a costly and reputation-damaging liability claim.
Flooring in commercial buildings should provide a firm enough footing in order to uphold the highest health and safety standards. When it comes to specifying surfaces for railway stations, for example, slip resistance is a key consideration. However, as indicated in Network Rail’s guidance on the planning and management of station flooring, there is a balance to be struck. According to the report, flooring with a high slip resistance generally contains a rough surface which makes it difficult to clean, resulting in a surface that doesn’t fulfil its operational life. In fact, the guidance states, some slippage is necessary for walking, particularly for those who are physically impaired. ‘A truly non-slip surface could not be walked over’, the report says.
A regular and effective cleaning regime is essential for preventing slip hazards, which occur when floors become wet or greasy. This can lead to trips and falls, which Network Rail statistics indicate, generally happens when people run for trains; particularly those with wheeled luggage. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the company focuses on the prevention of slip-based accidents as a driver in its selection of floor materials for its stations. A ‘Pendulum’ floor friction test, developed by the British Ceramic Research Limited (CERAM) and approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the UK Slip Resistance Group (UKSRG), determines appropriate floor-type for rail concourses, ramps, ticket offices, etc.
Network Rail requires all floor surface materials to achieve a minimum target rating of 40 SRV (Slip Resistance Value – defined in some standards as the PTV (pendulum test value) on the ‘Pendulum’ test when the material is both wet and dry and when fitted with a ‘4S’ rubber shoe.
Having established that floor surfaces in rail stations should be durable, easy to clean and show excellent slip-resistance in order to reduce accident risk, it’s also important that such a system facilitates simple and rapid installation. Railway station refurbishment leads to passenger disruption, and in some cases requires lines to be shut for a period of time to maintain public safety. With the Sikafloor® Pronto system, specifiers have the best of both worlds. It offers an easy-to-apply resin-based flooring solution for a range of environments; its rapid-curing properties being ideal for installations where time is of the essence.
Durable, with high-quality slip and chemical resistance, the Sikafloor® Pronto system delivers a seamless, easy-to-clean surface capable of withstanding long-term use of heavy footfall and machinery. Hard-wearing as well as aesthetically-pleasing, the Sikafloor® Pronto system transforms a surface’s look and performance for all-round user safety.
No compromises should be made in order to uphold public safety; hence quality flooring which is designed with passenger comfort and wellbeing in mind is essential for busy transport hubs such as railway stations. A floor refurbishment at Euston station in central London, which was carried out by the Everlast Group using products supplied by Sika, offers an example of how new technologies have been used to speed-up rail station works for safe, smart effect.
Case study: Euston station refurbishment
The repairs involved transforming a highly-trafficked 300m2 ramp area of the station in just one weekend. More than 120,000 people pass through Euston on a daily basis. Therefore, contractors had a mere 48 hours to ensure the floor would be installed and ready for the weekday commute in order to minimise disruption for passengers and many station-based businesses.
The new system was to be laid directly over a tiled substrate, which was showing signs of damage and wear due to sheer volume of foot, and occasional vehicle traffic. Everlast was required to remove loose or damaged tiles and build-up, and repair cracks or breaks in the surface using Sikadur® – a high-performance, high-precision strength, moisture-tolerant, epoxy grouting system. This solution eliminates dust production to significantly speed-up floor installation times.
It was then over-coated using Sikafloor® Pronto – a fast-curing solution even at low temperatures. Pronto systems have a high resistance to a wide variety of uses, whilst the super-quick setting time of these synthetics allows for rapid refurbishment. Their proven high-performance advantages also add long-term value for the client, as they have a static and dynamic bridging capacity; good impact and wear resistance; good chemical resistance; suitable for dry and wet conditions, and are impermeable to liquids etc.
Commenting on the Euston station floor refurbishment, a spokesperson for the terminus, congratulated Everlast on ‘a great job done’. ‘Our customers have really appreciated this piece of work’ the spokesperson said.
As the Euston station project demonstrates, by using quality repair and refurbishment systems, contractors can have the best of both worlds – speed and accuracy. It’s a formula for success that will help keep trains and their passengers, on the rails.
Sika is a specialty chemicals company with a leading position in the development and production of systems and products for bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing and protecting in the building sector and motor vehicle industry. Sika has subsidiaries in 100 countries around the world and manufactures in over 300 factories. Its more than 25,000 employees generated annual sales of CHF 8.1 billion (£6.8 billion) in 2019. At the end of 2019 Sika won the Swiss Technology Award for a ground-breaking new adhesive technology.
In the UK and Ireland, we provide market-leading solutions for concrete, waterproofing, roofing, flooring, refurbishment, building finishing, sealing & bonding, and industry, and have manufacturing sites in Welwyn Garden City, Preston, Leeds, Atherstone, Wishaw and Dublin with more than 950 employees and a turnover of more than £270 million.
For more information please call 01707 394444, or visit www.sika.co.uk.