In the UK, outdoor sports flooring such as tennis courts can be prone to severe health and safety issues, including becoming a common area for slips and falls if not well maintained. As a result, it is important that all sporting facilities ensure they create an environment which enables maximum performance as well as being safe for all that use them.
The HSE states that it is the duty of every school, leisure centre and University club to ensure the correct risk assessments and maintenance work are carried out to high standards. This article will inform you on the main causes of slippery outdoor grounds and how to ensure that hazards are reduced significantly.
Moss and algae
The very nature of being outdoors means moss and algae can grow over a period of time on damp outdoor flooring, this causes a waxy top layer to form on the ground making pitches extremely slippy. Sportsmen such as tennis players tend to keep their eye on the ball and not the floor meaning that algae and moss can easily cause trips, slips or falls resulting in injury.
Another common cause of slips and falls is bad weather. Sometimes sports teams are forced to play in wet and windy conditions, a wet floor can be one of the biggest cause of injuries due to grip being significantly reduced, especially whilst players are running around at a quick pace. Similarly, having the flooring of an outdoor sports surface exposed to the changing seasons means that deterioration of the flooring can easily occur.
Flooring material is perhaps the largest factor when assessing a sports ground’s slip resistance. This can often have a huge impact on the likelihood of the hazards previously mentioned in this article presenting themselves. Worn materials or those that generally perform badly in wet or other slippery conditions are to be avoided at all costs in areas where sporting activities are carried out.
There are some important measures that can be put into place to ensure that the grounds are as safe as possible. Performance testing in order to monitor slip resistance on a regular basis is imperative for a successful risk assessment. Also implementing special flooring that can be used to improve the safety in all areas is a must.
- A safety assessment along with a pendulum test can evaluate the current surface condition whilst also complying with current UK Health and Safety Executive recommendations. This process can help identify any issues causing deterioration of the level of slip resistance of outdoor sports surfaces including:
- General moss killing
- Pressure Cleaning
- Additional precautions such as colour coated anti slip paint
- To reduce risks and associated maintenance work from the beginning it would be worthwhile researching the best performance flooring for your purposes. Making use of National Testing’s laboratory testing services means you can put various materials through their paces before deciding on which one to use.
- For textured flooring, often used on outdoor basketball courts, texture depth testing can be used to determine whether it's grip is still at it's full potential. If the flooring needs improvement then we at National Testing can discuss possible options with you to help improve the area.
To discuss any concerns you may have regarding the flooring of your sports ground, or to book a consultation in order to asses the risks of your sports facilities flooring please contact National Testing, we are always happy to help.