Non-slip flooring: reduce slips and trips

Minimising slips in the workplace: non-slip flooring

Workplace environments prone to liquid spillages, oil, grease and chemicals increase the chance of a slip or fall. Below, we discuss how you can reduce the chance of a slip or trip in your workplace.

According to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, slips and trips are the number one cause of injury at work, accounting for around 30% of all major injuries and more than 40% of all reported injuries to members of the public [1].

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, floors and flooring materials in the United States contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries and 8 million hospital emergency room visits annually, equating to the leading cause of visits (21.3%) [2].

Most are slips, occurring when flooring surfaces become contaminated with water, oil and chemicals - substances frequently seen in food and drink processing facilities, kitchens, factory floors, warehouses, automotive mechanical garages and chemical manufacturing sites.

According to the HSE, “The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (Regulation 12) require floors to be suitable, in good condition and free from obstructions. People should be able to move around safely.”

Floors prone to slipperiness and deemed hazardous are liable to breach these requirements. Here, the employer could be subject to legal action - with or without an accident.

How is a non-slip surface assessed?

Before considering solutions to maximise grip, it’s worth understanding how grip is measured and quantified.

The “gold standard” for measuring surface roughness is based upon a pendulum test.

Essentially this portable skid resistance meter. Used in accordance with British Standard BS7976: Parts 1-3, 2002 [3], a swinging, imitation boot heel coated in rubber (used to mimic a human footstep) is passed across a surface. The resistance to movement (or conversely slipperiness) is quantified and displayed as a Pendulum Test Value (PTV).

What is a Pendulum Test Value (PVT) for my workplace?

Pendulum Test Values (PVT) are quantified and categorised as:

    • High slip potential (0-24) = high risk of a slip or trip, especially in the wet. Likely to breach health and safety guidelines unless present in very dry environments with little to no chance of a spillage. 
    • Moderate slip potential (25-35) = reduced chance of a slip, but likely to be increased if the surface has been exposed to water, chemicals or grease.
    • Low slip potential (36+) = has the lowest chance of a slip, but does not eliminate slips and should be considered in liquid-contaminated environments as well. Consistent with a safe working environment defined by health and safety authorities and should be a goal for most environments with a high-slip potential. 

My floor is constantly wet or greasy, how does that change the PTV test result?

Some environments might have a wet floor due to the nature of the work, owing to leaks and spillages. No doubt the slip hazard is significantly higher here, so a robust system is highly desirable - especially one that performs in the wet.

The pendulum test is often performed under dry conditions. However, it is also important to consider PTV values under normal working conditions to obtain a true value - especially if the flooring surface is likely to be wet or greasy. Once obtained, the PVT value should be re-evaluated and categorised according to the different slip potentials.

What types of systems exist?

Grit-free flooring systems possess lower grip level and rely upon friction generated by the floor-shoe interaction. These are not recommended for environments where the flooring system is likely to become wet or greasy.

Grit-based floor coatings: typically contain quartz, alumina and silica-based powders. Depending on the environment, particle size may vary; more rugged environments may necessitate a larger particle and less demanding environments, such as walkways requiring a finer particle. 

How much is a non-slip coating?

Non-slip coatings, particularly those for resin flooring present a fractional increase in cost of the flooring system. The particles themselves are mixed into the flooring substrate and applied as an additional coating.

How durable is the non-slip finish?

This depends on use and type of flooring system, but excluding very excessive, heavy duty wear, a good non-slip surface can withstand frequent footfall, power cleaning, forklift truck movement and moderate impact. One of the benefits of a resin flooring system is that regions suffering from excessive wear can be easily repaired and refurbished. These systems are also possess excellent chemical resistance, structural integrity and wear-resistance. 

What if only some of my areas are slippery?

Some regions may be constantly wet or greasy, particularly those close to equipment and water sources. Others could have intermittent spillages and hard to see leaks. Such environments may require visual changes to the flooring scheme or strategic placement of specialist panels: 

Resin Floor demarcation and lining

Yes. Some areas may be constantly wet or greasy, so it might not be possible to increase the PTV (or grip strength) to an acceptable level. Such areas may therefore benefit from markings to indicate more hazardous regions via demarcation and service. Typically, regions may be colour coded with lines and dashes based on RAL and BS colour schemes.

Non-slip GRP panels

These can be custom-designed to cover flooring areas, ladder rungs, stair edges (flat, rounded and angular), decking strips, etc. They’re perfect for complex areas and awkward angles. The surface roughness and therefore grip can be tailored to the surface in accordance with BS-7976-2, as can the thickness. 

How can we help?

At Strandek GRP Systems, we're able to offer a range of non-slip resin flooring and GRP panel solutions to maximise the grip in your workplace. Working with leading manufactures, our technicians can advise and install high-quality products and solutions. With over 40 years of experience our team are on hand to help you choose and install the best solution for your project. 

Call us today on 01633 250652 or contact us here.

References

[1] =  http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis2.pdf

[2] = https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/

[3] = https://shop.bsigroup.com/ProductDetail/?pid=000000000030270878] 

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