Polyflor SA, one of South Africa’s leading suppliers of vinyl sheeting and Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVTs) to the healthcare, hospitality, retail and commercial environments, is currently in the throes of supplying vinyl flooring to emergency COVID-19 sites which are being erected around the country.
A good name and a good reputation go hand-in-hand
Polyflor SA is currently the only vinyl flooring supplier in South Africa who is a member of the Southern African Vinyls Association (SAVA) and displays the Vinyl-dot (Vinyl.) accreditation as proof that their floors adhere to the industry’s Product Stewardship Commitment criteria and are safe, reliable and sustainable.
According to Tandy Coleman, the CEO of Polyflor SA, they received the request for assistance with floors as the nation went into #lockdown and the majority of businesses were closing their doors in compliance with the order issued by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“We have been working closely with the Department of Health and Public Works over the past number of years and have formed a close working relationship with them through our involvement in refurbishing a number of state hospitals. It was encouraging to see that the decision-makers are well informed about the benefits of hospital quality vinyl flooring and the important role these floors have to play in preventing the spread of infections,” Tandy says.
Out of limitations come creativity
The Polyflor SA team have had to think out of the box and work creatively with managing stock to make up these orders. “Because we did not want to put any of our regular warehouse staff in danger, we were grateful for the help of friends and family who were available to work around the clock over weekends to help prepare the orders – all the while adhering to strict hygiene practices and social distancing!” she adds.
Despite the limitations on time, resources and manpower, the Polyflor team ensured that the first shipments destined for the COVID-19 isolation units went out in record time in order to complete the installations.
How vinyl flooring help prevent the spreading of infections
Flooring used in a healthcare environment has a long list of criteria it should meet. Apart from aesthetics and allowing for easy, cost-effective maintenance regimes, it is critical for these floors to be hygienic.
Wet-rooms (such as bathrooms) require additional slip-resistant solutions to ensure safety in these areas, whilst hospitals also use expensive equipment that require floors that offer special electrostatic dissipative properties. Above all, however, is the need for regular, thorough cleaning and disinfecting.
“A clean floor is conducive to a healthy environment and this is exactly what makes vinyl sheeting the best option for use in hospitals and other environments where hygiene, reliability, safety and comfort are of paramount importance,” Tandy says.
Polyflor vinyl sheeting are welded together to create a smooth, impervious floor without any joins or grooves. These floors can be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis and have been proven to inhibit the growth of germs and bacteria.
Cleaning and disinfecting of floors
According to Tandy, regular cleaning and disinfecting of floors play an important role in establishing a good infection control regime.
“General cleaning of these floors using soap (or detergent) and water is adequate to remove germs, dirt, and impurities from the floors. Whilst it does not necessarily kill germs, it does remove them, thereby lowering the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting the floors, on the other hand, kills the germs by using specialised chemicals. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection,” she explains.
Preparing for life after Corona
Although the Polyflor offices have officially been closed, the Polyflor team has continued to work remotely. “Our sales, marketing and installations teams have been meeting online and are using this time to catch-up on much needed administration and planning for the future. We know that vinyl flooring will continue to play an important role in hospitals and healthcare environments in the years to come. Ensuring the safety, health and well-being of customers and employees will also be a major priority in retail, hospitality and commercial developments post-lockdown, and we are positioning ourselves to hit the ground running. We look forward to making ourselves available to our customers to offer guidance, advice and support every step of their flooring journey!” Tandy concludes.