Safer Workers

Stainless steel floor surface reduces falls and provides hygiene in the food processing industry

December 08, 2015

Food processing equipment with non-slip floor

Slips, trips and falls of workers are a major cause of workplace accidents and of concern to business owners. In industries such as food production there are additional challenges where the floor surfaces need to be kept clean and even sanitised. In the USA the recent Food Safety Modernization Act requires plants to thoroughly document the sanitisation of all food contact surfaces which the Food and Drug Administration defines as one where food may “drain, drip or splash”. In many plants, this includes the floors where various types of harmful bacteria may collect.
A high-traction surface
An innovative answer to these challenges is offered by SlipNOT® Metal Safety Flooring of Detroit, Michigan USA. By taking nickel-containing stainless steel sheets or plates and applying a layer of fine stainless particles through a thermal spray process, a high traction surface with a high coefficient of friction is obtained to produce a slip-resistant floor. Typically a medium roughness (peak to valley depth of 0.5-0.63 mm) surface is specified. The particles, which provide the non-slip surface, have good bond strength to the substrate and are extremely hard (typically over 55 on the Rockwell C scale). They can also withstand repeated cleaning with harsh sanitising chemicals. Most commonly nickel-containing Type 304 (UNS S30400) is used, but the product can be produced in other stainless steels such as Type 316L (S31603) when higher corrosion resistance is needed. These grades of nickel-containing stainless steel are easy to keep in a hygienic condition which is of particular concern in the food industry.

The SlipNOT surface has been approved by public health standards and certification organisation NSF International, and is used by several major food processers in the U.S. Stainless steel is used in non-slip applications including elevated platforms, crossovers, stair treads, catwalks, mezzanines and drain covers.

When a major food producer needed a slip-resistant surface around their mixing tank platforms where the floor was subject to splashing and spilling, making working conditions potentially dangerous for workers, SlipNOT supplied floor plates and stair treads to A&B Process Systems (Stratford, Wisconsin, USA) as part of the complete mixing tank system. Fabricated from 6.35mm thick Type 304 stainless steel, the slip-resistant flooring throughout their facility helped this food producer reduce slips, trips and falls in 2012 by 30% over the previous year.

Non-slip, nickel-containing stainless steel flooring is also suitable in pharmaceutical plants and other industries which have similar hygiene requirements.

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