Keeping customers and colleagues safe

on 16 February, 2016

From coffee shops to office blocks, school grounds to care homes, timber decking continues to become increasingly popular as an outdoor surface.

A cost effective material that is relatively easy to install, it’s perfect for small and large areas, whether flat or uneven. Businesses that are landscaping on a budget will enjoy the fact that an outdoor timber decking surface is relatively quick to install and can offer the charm and beauty of natural timber.

So, the fact that timber decking is the perfect solution for many projects is not in question. What is of particular importance however, is safety. We’re all so focused on looking at safety in the workplace and yet it is remarkably common for businesses of all shapes and sizes to overlook the risk of timber decking when it becomes wet.

Face up to the risk

All specifications of deck board possess the same potential slip hazard when moist. Timber offers no grip in these conditions and it is very easy for someone to slip up, even when simply walking across a flat surface. This slip could result in a graze; it might result in something more serious. And that is the issue. The cost of a customer or member of staff claiming for an injury on wet timber decking is far greater than the cost of doing something about it in the first place.

With the growth in use of decking as a surface and the increasingly wet weather that we experience in the UK, whether winter or summer, the market for anti-slip decking products has gathered speed in recent years and there is now no need to feel confined to chicken wire or something else equally unsightly with limited effectiveness.

The professional solution

Anti-slip decking works by enhancing the deck board with a grip that remains intact in all weathers. The most common format is a resin and aggregate formulation that is placed into the grooves of the boards, sitting slightly proud of the timber. Brand new decking can be purchased with an anti-slip enhancement or in the case of our DeckWright Inserts, grooved boards can be retrospectively anti-slipped after they have been laid (often the time when people experience the slippery problem).

The effectiveness of anti-slip decking products is measured using the Pendulum Slip Test, so be sure to understand the PTV score for your product of choice. Also ask about any manufacturer warranty offered and understand how the timber decking has been initially treated.

There is no need to bring out the yellow “caution wet surface” signs when it rains. Nor do you need to worry about keeping your customers off a damp decking surface. Simply consider how you are going to professionally anti-slip the decking for a long-lasting, effective and attractive result that will reward you with full peace of mind.”

Mark Eggleston is managing director of WJ Group.

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