Altro, the leading manufacturer of maritime safety flooring Altro Transflor Gallium™, has launched a new guide for shipbuilders to ensure the products they use conform to the strictest safety standards. The guide, 'Safety at Sea', outlines the latest legislative requirements
Gallium, from Altro Transflor, is the only PVC-free, IMO MED fully approved, slip resistant, lightweight flooring on the market. Designed specifically for maritime use, Gallium can help shipping operators meet their duty of care to passengers and crew, because it can help prevent slips and trips, and improve safety in the event of a fire.
Altro Transflor has over 30 years' experience in the transit flooring industry. The company is leading the way in safety flooring recycling – all products are 100% recyclable.
Fully approved, lightweight, slip resistant marine flooring
Gallium is ideal for areas where slips and trips could occur, such as service corridors and emergency stairwells, helping to prevent accidents. In addition, it is safe in the event of fire because it is fully compliant with the stringent IMO FTP regulations on smoke and toxicity.
Unique polyacrylate formulation for fire resistant flooring
Gallium's unique polyacrylate formulation easily surpasses the IMO MED requirements for Part 2 (smoke and toxicity) and Part 5 (fire) of the FTP code. Altro's own testing standards are also very stringent.
After manufacture, every batch of Gallium is independently tested for fire, smoke and toxicity. This voluntary procedure – which exceeds the requirements of the IMO MED – ensures 100% compliance and gives operators the confidence that they are meeting their duty of care to passengers and crew.
PVC-free marine flooring
Simon Andrews, maritime sales manager for Altro Transflor, says: “The rules on how interior finishings on ships were tested for fire and smoke performance changed as a result of a fire on The Scandinavian Star in 1990, which claimed the lives of 158 people.”
“Fire at sea is one of the greatest fears and, unlike a land-based building, escape from a ship may not be easy. Confusion caused by smoke plus loss of footing due to ship movement can only increase concerns. Any floor covering which offers excellent slip resistance even when wet, whilst at the same time reducing potentially dangerous toxic emissions caused by fire, must surely be the way forward.”
Safety flooring for ships
Gallium is a genuine safety flooring. It provides excellent slip resistance due to aggregates of silicon carbide, aluminium trioxide and quartz scattered through the wear layer.
"Many operators still choose aesthetics over functionality by installing smooth products," says Simon Andrews. "This is an invitation for people to make compensation claims caused by slip and trip injuries."
"Gallium is slip resistant even when wet, which means that during an evacuation, when the ship may be listing and the floor wet, it provides superb grip. It can also be used in all types of wet areas such as galleys and showers, and is completely water resistant. In addition it has an integral bacteriostat – altrosan™ – which helps prevent the build-up of bacteria and cross contamination."
2008 Safety at Sea International Award for equipment
Earlier this year, Gallium received industry recognition by winning the coveted 2008 Safety at Sea International Award in the equipment category. The panel of six independent judges were impressed with Altro Transflor's dedication in developing a safety surface specifically for the maritime industry, particularly the high level of research and development undertaken to create Gallium. This process involved some five years and 400 fire and smoke tests.
Comments from the judges included: "There is no doubt about the safety importance of flooring, because most personal accidents are caused by trips and falls. Anything that is both non-slip and fire resistant is an important addition to shipping safety."
Gallium conforms to the ILO's Maritime Labour Convention 2006 recommendations for seafarers' working conditions in relation to health and safety, and accident prevention.
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