LIABILITY claims from slips, trips and falls in the workplace can be financially debilitating and have an extremely negative impact on the reputation of a business.
Considered the most frequent cause of injuries in the workplace, these incidents can result in serious downtime and even closure of facilities.
“Floors, stairs and handrails are often cited as the cause of such accidents. In some incidents, injury is caused by factors beyond the reasonable control of the business owner. However, there is great wisdom in the adage ‘prevention is better than cure.’ Businesses should consult floor grating specialists to ensure that their floor grating adheres to the required building regulations and occupational health and safety (OHS) standards,” Elaine van Rooyen, marketing manager of Andrew Mentis, says.
Unfortunately for the consumer, not all floor-grating products on the market are of a suitably high standard. “An inferior quality product may well look identical to a reputed brand when viewed through the eyes of an unsuspecting customer. However, the real litmus test comes after the installation is completed and employees start walking on the floor grating. At best these products will fail without endangering lives. At worst, a business could face a lawsuit citing negligence,” van Rooyen points out.
Van Rooyen cautions that customers should carefully research the claims made by the floor-grating manufacturer. “Mentis floor grating is engineered to take specific loading, which then ensures the optimum safety of the people walking on or working in those areas. We initially meet with customers to determine their exact needs, and then our processing department compiles the layouts for the required products according to the structural steel drawings supplied by the customer. A complete understanding of the load bearing capacity of grating is required to ensure that the correct floor grating product is selected for an application.”
All Mentis floor grating is manufactured in a world-class facility at Elandsfontein, Johannesburg using a pressure locking system pioneered by the company. “Quality control is stringent during the manufacturing process to ensure that close tolerances are maintained and that the round transversal bar fits tightly through the pierced bearer bar on our floor grating products,” van Rooyen says.
Mentis has two predominant floor grating products – Rectagrid RS40 and Rectagrid RS80. “RS40 is a premium brand and is formed through a process of compressive pressure locking of bearer bars and transversals to form an exact pitch of 40 mm by 40 mm. Rectagrid RS80 is identical to RS40 grating except that we omit every second bearer bar, giving an 80 mm pitch bearer bar with a 40 mm pitch transversal. This effectively reduces the RS80’s permissible load bearing capacity by 50%,” she adds.
Van Rooyen emphasises that the most critical element is the load bearing capacity of the floor grating. “The best way to ensure the structural integrity of floor grating is to align yourself with a manufacturer who has designed and engineered the product to attain predetermined tolerances. Mentis is pedantic about the strict criteria set for its floor grating.”
Non-negotiable factors include the fact that the transversals must be positively and permanently locked to the bearer bars. “In addition, there must be no cracks or crevices at intersections which could harbour corrosion. The locking method at the intersections should be designed to use the full depth of the bearer bar when calculating loads. Finally, the grating panels should be flat, square and untwisted. Safety in the workplace simply cannot be compromised,” van Rooyen concludes.