The safety of installers needs to be a top priority.
There are constant complaints about how safety requirements are making it increasingly difficult for flooring contractors to operate within the clients’ framework. Medicals have to be undergone, safe operating induction programmes have to be attended, tools need to be checked and product safety data sheets need to be maintained – all this takes time, money and effort, and is not necessarily recoverable.
The industry needs to take stock of the situation and consider the appropriateness of these stringent requirements. Firstly, the moral aspect of trying to minimise employees’ exposure to risk, either in the short term or where they are exposed over extended periods of time. Do one’s ethics cover the fact that employees have families to raise and also that their health should be good when they retire?
A regular inspection of tools and equipment is important to ensure that safe practices are maintained; that the tools are capable of carrying out their function properly and that staff is trained and skilled in using them. Only by inspection will their true state be revealed, and appropriate measures can then be taken to ensure that they are preserved well.
The chemicals that installers use to carry out their tasks are another important factor. The age-old dilemma of which to choose: flammable, solvent-based adhesives, which carry the very real risks of fire and severe injury? – or non-flammable, so-called “safe” products containing substances which are addictive and cause stress to the cardio-vascular system? Do these products contain substances that are harmful to the environment or cause the installer discomfort or injury?
A careful look should be taken at the current position in this regard and an in-depth consultation with a specialist in this regard should be done.