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Steps to Sustained slip resistance: Ensuring your spaces are safe now and in the future

Safe now ≠ safe later

If you knew the chance of being struck by a car while crossing the street was one in a million, you’d cross. Now it’s one in two. Still going on that afternoon run?

Safety flooring may meet slip resistance standards when first installed, but some products aren’t made to last. Be it 10 years, five years or even a year later, damage and contamination can decimate flooring’s slip resistance, and flooring that previously had a one in a million chance of someone slipping now sees one of every two people fall. 

That’s why Altro put a variety of products from different manufacturers to the test.

David Cockhead, Altro’s Quality and Compliance Advisor, says that the test, conducted in an external, independent laboratory, revealed that some products “fell below Health and Safety Executive (HSE’s) minimum standard of slip resistance” throughout their useful lives. Only able to be performed in a lab, the tests examine flooring right off the manufacturing line. 

Altro uses the SATRA Pedatron Test  to evaluate surface wear, measuring how one million steps affects an area of flooring. What follows is an accurate depiction of how a floor will perform over time. 

Flooring with a lifetime slip resistance of PTV ≥36  makes the odds of a slip and fall one in a million. Conversely, if flooring meets standards when fitted but loses slip resistance over the years, those odds could be high as one in two.

Therefore, even if you’ve chosen flooring that meets the requirements today, you could still face litigation years later. 

Maintaining your flooring and its slip resistance

So you’ve chosen your safety flooring – it’s been tested and it won’t lose significant slip resistance in the next ten years. Job’s done. Everyone goes home happy. …Right? 

Unfortunately, sustaining slip resistance for the life of the product isn’t like acing your middle school science class – it takes more than just reading an instrument and passing a test. 

Slip resistance can be compromised by many means, such as different contaminants, types of footwear and cleaning processes. Safety flooring requires appropriate maintenance to perform at expected standards. 

If the manufacturer’s cleaning and maintenance guides aren’t followed, dirt and chemicals can build up, form a barrier to effective slip resistance and potentially cause slips. Avoid costly accidents by adhering to the manufacturer’s cleaning guidelines.

Still, no amount of cleaning can restore worn away slip resistance. Choosing safety flooring with sustained slip resistance is the safest way to avoid a future slippery problem.

What qualities does flooring need to have sustained slip resistance?

Flooring with slip resistance particles throughout ensure slip resistance will not wear down quickly. Altro performed a slip resistance test on flooring of ours that met this requirement installed 35 years ago. Even at 35 years old, the results came back the same as a brand new Altro safety floor. 

Products with embossed surfaces or epoxy coating all wear away over time - the biggest offenders of initially meeting requirements but failing later. This leaves users at greater risk and site owners vulnerable to claims. 

Quick tips that can help you make an informed decision:
  • Always ask flooring manufacturers to show you results for sustained slip resistance – the duty to ensure flooring remains safe lies with those who specify.
  • Ask questions and be sure you know what you are specifying and that it is fit for your purpose.

If you are involved in specifying flooring, even if you’re planning to install the same type of flooring again, you have a legal duty to ensure the safety of those using that space – now and in the future. 

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Posted: 9/21/2016 7:43:19 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments