Keeping people safe in the new era of floor graphics

Key safety messages such as hand washing and physical distancing (2 m [6.5 ft] apart) can now be seen everywhere.

Key safety messages such as hand washing and physical distancing (2 m [6.5 ft] apart) can now be seen everywhere.

Floor graphics serve many purposes. They are impactful tools for branding and advertising; can transform a bare floor into a fun, colourful space for sports, entertainment, or decorative purposes; and can be highly effective for educational and wayfinding applications. But at the start of 2020, no one could have predicted floor graphics would come to play such an important role in public health and safety.

COVID-19 has turned the world, as we know it, on its head. Key safety messages such as hand washing and physical distancing (2 m [6.5 ft] apart) are now as recognizable as corporate slogans. People see these messages on signage everywhere, initially in public spaces, health care centres, and essential businesses, like grocery stores, and now increasingly in the transport, non-essential retail, and hospitality sectors as restrictions are eased.

Floor decals tick several boxes for communicating these messages concurrently. They can convey a message clearly and simply. Thanks to their location, they are effective at attracting attention, so more people will see and respond to the messages. At the same time, they can act as physical distance markers. As a result, the demand for floor graphics media and services is at an all-time high, and manufacturers expect this to continue. While not as crucial as personal protective equipment (PPE), floor graphics promoting social distancing have now (and for the foreseeable future) become a requirement for public spaces. Further, as their effectiveness as a marketing medium is proven, they may well become even more popular for advertising, too.

Avoid slips and trips

If the intention of floor graphics is to protect people, the last thing anyone wants is to create an injury risk. When public safety is a priority, it is not enough to use any self-adhesive graphics media that sticks to the floor; only a product designed specifically for this application should be used. This, partly, is because it will have been tested and rated for its slip-resistance.

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The test standards used to measure slip-resistance vary across different geographical regions and even within the same country, for this reason it is important customers check with their region’s relevant building requirements or health and safety executive for slip certification required. The application will need to be thoroughly evaluated prior to choosing a floor graphic, such as knowing the type of contaminate, oil will require a rougher surface than if it was just water. Floor gradient will also impact slip resistance and the steeper the slope the higher slip resistance is required. Finally the type and frequency of floor traffic is key to understand, the more wear sustained by the graphic then the shorter its lifespan and will need to be replaced.     

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