Whatever type of flooring you have, the most important thing is that it's safe, particularly if your building is a place of business. When a lot of people are moving through your facility in a hurry, minor issues can become safety hazards, and it's always better to err on the side of caution. The steps involved in conducting a proper risk assessment will depend on the company you work for, but here are some common issues:
- Defective materials. Some of the most common hazards are caused by damaged or defective materials, such as holes or loose tiles. The biggest hazards are the ones you might not be able to see, like weak spots or cracks, which can trip up even the most attentive walker.
- Wet surfaces. These are also among the most common hazards. Accidental spills are easy to notice and clean up, but accidents can also happen if the floor has just been mopped, or if a minor leak has gone unnoticed. If a part of the floor is frequently wet or seems wet for no reason, suspect a hidden leak and investigate as soon as possible. On rainy days, expect floors to be wet near the entrances and exits to the building, and mark them accordingly.
- Uneven surfaces. These can be particularly easy to miss, since they may be oversights in the building's design and not the result of defective materials. For example, someone going up or down a ramp might fall or lose control if the ramp is too steep. Occupants might lose their balance if they suddenly walk from a rough surface to a smooth surface, even if it doesn't look uneven or slippery.
- Obstacles. Make sure walkways are clear of obstructions. Move any fallen objects, cords, or other trip hazards out of people's way. Even soft flooring can cause an accident, such as a rug that isn't lying perfectly flat.
Don't wait for a formal risk assessment to address these obvious safety hazards. Even if you can't fix the problem yourself, you can draw attention to it. Even just marking a safety hazard can be enough to prevent many accidents and injuries.