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A store manager in food retailing has to keep an eye on a lot of things – among other things, he or she has to look towards the ground to assess the risk of slipping for his or her customers. Even a dropped lettuce leaf can result in the store operator being sued for damages – namely, if a customer slips and injures herself. How is it possible to fulfil the duty of care and reconcile cleanliness and safety? How do your cleaners prevent the floor from becoming greyer and smoother over time?
One second of inattention and it has already happened: A customer in the supermarket accidentally bumps into the drinks shelf and a bottle of wine breaks into a thousand shards. Or a yogurt falls down when you take it out of the refrigerated section. Now speed is of the essence. A market employee will mop up the puddle of yogurt or pool of wine, including the shards, with paper towels – as carefully as possible so as not to injure themselves on the shards. To ensure that the floor is really clean – especially if it has been red wine – the cleaning machine should be fetched afterwards to generously sweep the area. If the worst comes to the worst, the store manager is called upon to demonstrate his all-round skills and knows how to operate the scrubber-dryer.
Why is it so important to act quickly? The operator of a shop must ensure that the floor is clean at all times and that there is no danger of suppliers, employees or customers slipping. But it doesn’t take yogurt at all to make the floor dangerous for supermarket customers. All it takes is a dropped lettuce leaf at the vegetable counter. The entrance area is also a “danger zone” if it has become slippery because many customers come in and out when it rains, bringing in the moisture from outside. A slippery floor “due to water, rain, snow, black ice” was the cause of 9,240 of the reportable accidents to public sector workers in 2020the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) reports https://publikationen.dguv.de/widgets/pdf/download/article/4271: Table 44, p. 70) 5,305 accidents were reported due to a slippery floor contaminated with oil and grease.
A store operator must ensure that dropped food is removed immediately. If the floor is still wet from the use of a cleaning machine, customers in the store must be specifically advised of this. Again and again, lawsuits are filed in court and the store operator may be obligated to pay high damages under certain circumstances.
Basically, the following statement applies: the shinier the floor, the more slippery it is. We at haid-tec are specialists in making porcelain stoneware tiles, which are widely used in the food trade, slip-resistant through our surface treatment, while still retaining their gloss. The statutory occupational health and safety regulations stipulate that floors in public areas must have a certain roughness. The problem: the rougher the floor, the harder it is to clean. If a cleaner is assigned with the daily cleaning who has not been instructed or has only been instructed incompletely, this can have serious consequences. A porcelain stoneware floor that has been permanently cleaned incorrectly will become greyer and smoother over time. This increases the risk of customers and employees slipping if it’s a little damp.
Both using the wrong cleaning product and the way you clean can cause the floor to become slicker over time. Waxes, soaps and conditioning substances in the cleaning agent settle directly on the surface or in the fine recesses of the porcelain stoneware tile – mixed with the dirt substances that are actually supposed to disappear, a layer is formed on the floor. The contaminants as well as the residues of the cleaning agents add up over time. If moisture is added, for example when shoppers enter the supermarket in the rain with wet shoes, a slippery, greasy layer forms.
Keeping a retail food store clean is a particular challenge for all store operators. They have a duty to protect their employees, suppliers and customers from accidents. It must be ensured that floors are always dry and clean. Of course, in the event of a mishap, action should be taken quickly, but most of the work is in basically defining the processes to ensure that porcelain stoneware floors are cleaned properly in the supermarket.
Only proper cleaning ensures that the anti-slip floors do not become slippery and that employees can carry out their work and customers their shopping safely. The branch manager fulfils her duty of care if she has a cleaning concept that is consistently implemented by her employees.
What challenges do you face when cleaning your porcelain stoneware floors? Let us know – we will be happy to create an individual cleaning concept for you on request.
With over 3,000 objects walked on and over 5 million square metres of floor area, David Haid is a proven expert in the cleaning of porcelain stoneware floor coverings. As an author in our haid-tec magazine „BODEN-ständig“, he shares his expertise from over 15 years of professional experience with you and provides valuable tips, especially for challenging cleaning projects.
If you have any questions, he will be happy to help you at any time and can be reached via the following channels.