It is reported that approximately 40% of all accidents reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) yearly are related to slip, trips and falls. In order to minimise these, the HSE recommends all workplaces should abide by particular anti-slip regulations associated with the flooring material, what the flooring is used for, and other factors such as footwear, contamination and cleaning efforts.
To help businesses tackle the issue of trips and falls, there are certain British and European slip testing standards that have been introduced to assist companies in ensuring safety in the workplace is at, or above, the legal requirements. The prefixes used on each standard depict what level they are. For example, “EN” represents European standards, “BS” represents British National standards, and “DIN” are from the German Institute of Standardisation. We explain below some of the most common standards that you may come across in regards to measuring slip testing within your premises:
BS7976 / BS EN 13036-4
This international standard uses the pendulum test to assess a floor’s surface, specifying its slipperiness under dry and contaminated conditions. This is the most common method used to measure the effectiveness of slip resistance for pedestrian areas. It is highly endorsed by the HSE due to being an accurate and reliable test method, having the added advantage of being a portable device. Trained operators imitate the action of slipping using a heel clad with a standard rubber sole over the desired floor surface. The results are measured on a scale under a “pendulum test value” (PTV) or “ slip resistance value” to assess friction and are rated as follows:
- High slip potential: 0-24 PTV
- Moderate slip potential: 25-35 PTV
- Low slip potential: 36+ PTV
These performance results may differ in format across European countries but can be easily transferred into a pendulum test value.
BS EN 13287
This standard uses a laboratory based mechanical method to measure slip resistance for the use of safety and occupational footwear. The method focuses on assessing types of footwear on various flooring surfaces. However, this standard has limitations; the test can not identify which types of footwear perform better or worse on varying levels of slip resistance on a surface. Therefore, it is not possible to select specific slip resistant footwear for a particular environment.
This is a ramp test to measure the slip resistance of safety footwear and oil contaminants - the flooring is assessed under motor oil contaminated conditions with cleated safety boot footwear. Results are rated on a scale R9 to R13, with R9 being the least slip resistant and R13 being the most slip resistant (you can find out more about R ratings here). It should be noted, a flooring successful in this slip test standard may not necessarily perform well under water contaminated conditions.
Similar to the previous standard, this is another ramp test to measure the safety within certain settings. However, for this test there is no footwear used and instead the flooring is tested by the assessors in barefoot conditions. Soapy water is used as a contaminant for the surface in which the slipperiness is tested. The slipperiness is ranked as either Class A, B or C, with C being the most slip resistant. It is important to note that if flooring performs well under these conditions it is not clear to say it would rank as well with clean water contamination.
This laboratory based ramp test is specific to strong, but flexible floor coverings that include improved slip resistance (also known as particle based enhanced resilient floors). Standard forms of footwear are used by the operator under soapy water contaminated conditions to evaluate the slip resistance. Please note; this method also may not produce the same result under clean water conditions.
As you can see, there are so many different standards to consider when installing or testing the flooring in any workplace, along with particular slip resistance methods that will be apparent to your flooring needs and uses. National Testing have the skills and knowledge to ensure you have robust legal documents to demonstrate your flooring is safe and fit for purpose. We provide a variety of tests including in depth pendulum slip testing and road skid tests. Adhering to HSE guidelines, we are UKAS accredited giving you complete peace of mind. Please contact us for any further information or to receive a FREE QUOTE.