Professional basketball match abandoned due to slippery floor

Just before the new year, Sheffield Sharks’ British Basketball League match against Sheffield Sharks was abandoned “over fears for the players’ safety”. Two of Leicester’s players had been injured due to slips, causing them to leave the match.


It was felt that an incorrect cleaning regime had caused the issue.


Cleaning comes under the M (for Maintenance) of our CHIMES model. You can have a perfectly safe, slip-resistant floor but maintain it ineffectively and cause it to become dangerously slippery.


For all businesses, the Surface (S in CHIMES) and its Maintenance are well within your control.


As a bare minimum you should be seeking to properly understand the slip resistance provided by the Surface and how this is (or can be) effected by different Maintenance regimes.


This can be achieved through pendulum testing. Test the surface as it is in dry and wet conditions – this gives you a benchmark for where you are now. Next, clean the floor and retest in dry and wet conditions – has the slip resistance changed? If it has become worse, you should probably not use that particular method of Maintenance on your floor.


You can experiment with different cleaning regimes, using the pendulum test to give you some measurable metrics rather than just relying on the subjectivity of whether the floor looks clean or not. Try different:

  • Chemicals (or not)
  • Agitation methods (rotary vs cylindrical vs no agitation at all)
  • Brushes / pads / mop heads
  • Rinsing (or not)

…to see what produces an output that works for you.


You should also monitor this over time: it may be that after a single clean a methodology appears to make no change, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that a slow degradation of slip safety won’t happen. Any residue on the surface will act as a magnet for more to build-up but this probably wouldn’t be noticeable until a few cleans had been undertaken.

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