A recent purchase from a food manufacturer, in this case, a processor of walnuts, highlights the need for anti-slip stair treads and nosings in this industry. The customer was encountering problems on a platform where the operators were doing a chemical clean of walnuts.
The platform was made of expanded metal mesh. While this tends to look like a good anti slip platform, we note that in most cases the anti-slip properties work only in one direction. This is the direction where the user’s shoes go against the metal slit. Where the shoes go in the direction of the slit, especially when there are liquids, oils, fats, etc. (in this case chemicals), the expanded metal platform acts more like a skating rink. And the operator’s shoes like a skate. The floor/platform can become very slippery.
Expanded Metal Mesh – a closer look
Before we go further into this case study, let’s look at expanded metal mesh. These sheets are used for steps, flooring, walkways and platforms in the manufacturing, mining and construction industries. They are also used for fences, wash stations, and security applications.
Expanded metal sheets are manufactured by first creating multiple slits in the sand then stretching the sheet. The stretching creates a unique diamond pattern opening with one of the strands protruding at a slight angle. These raised strands can be flattened later in the process if desired.
One of the benefits of this method of construction is that the sheet retains its structural integrity because it does not undergo the stress of having shapes punched in it (like say perforated sheet), and the mesh-like pattern will not unravel (like woven mesh can and sometimes does). Expanded metal has been stretched rather than punched, reducing scrap metal waste; making it cost-effective. This is also another benefit for use as a flooring, stair and platform material: it’s lower cost up front compared to other alternatives, however when expanded mesh is mixed with wet areas or oil on the bottom of work boots it immediately results in a “world class” safety hazard. (Believe me, we’ve seen this in abbattoirs, where expanded metal mesh seems to be used extensively.)
Now back to our walnut manufacturer/processor.
The spills from the vat of chemical cleaner spilled over to the surrounding platform made of expanded mesh, with the resulting slippery platform which posed danger to the operators using the platform. The photo here shows how the slits of the mesh went in one direction, which meant those following that direction in their steps found the wet floor slippery. (Note above explanation about the direction of the mesh.) In fact, some spills did occur at the factory floor in this area.
To eliminate the danger of slipping and also the possibility of further spills from operators carrying pails of chemicals, Amco was approached for supply of their Gripmaster Stair Nosings. Note that the colour supplied was the Higher Vis Nano555 green coloured stair treads. Studies on colour visibility noted that this green colour been more visible than safety yellow, even, or rather, specially at low light.
The above photo shows installation of the stair tread/nosings to cover the entire platform and obviate the slippery effect of the expanded metal mesh floor. (Note the direction of the slits on the expanded wire mesh.)
We supplied and fitted these two green Higher Vis Nano555 Gripmaster Stair nosings to Walnut Australia last week. The higher visibility of the Nano555 green also gives added safety for users of the platform. Note the study of this green colour been more visible than safety yellow, even, or rather, specially at low light.
For more information or to discuss your needs, contact us now.