Helping to ensure there are fewer falls

Every year 1,500 people in Switzerland die as a result of a fall; this is five times the number of people who die in road traffic accidents. And every year 284,000 people do fall, yet in many cases these could have been avoided.

Thilo Bräuninger, a German national, has been trying to reduce the number of such accidents, many of which occur in the home. It is ten years now since he set up the Grip Safety Coatings company, manufacturing SwissGriP products, initially in Baar, formerly in Hünenberg, and now in Rotkreuz.

He talks about how he became to be interested in such products when, whilst working in the bathroom-fitting sector some13 years ago, a client insisted on an anti-slip base for the shower, for which there was only one known supplier. As it happened, the bathroom fittings were delivered without this anti-slip base, leaving Bräuninger to re-order it and fit it himself. Since this incident, the entrepreneur, who was born in Heilbronn in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, decided to concentrate on finding a solution to preventing falls.

He started off buying the patents and production of the anti-slip surfaces from a Dutch company and then wondered where to set up his company. He had already considered Switzerland, but it was quite by chance that he got in touch with Guido Bulgheroni of the Economic Contact Point of the Canton of Zug and the pair agreed to meet in the lobby of a hotel here. “You would never get anything like this happening in Germany,” he said, as he continued to lavish praise on Switzerland and Zug.

In 2008, Bräuninger was on the verge of entering the German parliament and awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for the contributions to vocational training but came to Zug and set up production of his SwissGriP products in Wallisellen in the canton of Zurich instead.

Ten years on, Grip Safety Coatings now supplies prestigious companies such as Ideal Standard and Villeroy and Boch, and his company is now a leader in its field. Most showers in Zug’s hotels have been fitted with this non-slip surface. Other places which sport them include the Elbharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, the Inselspital hospital in Bern, the Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich and the Lättich baths in Baar.  

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