Not many people are aware of the term slip resistance testing. It is a term that should resonate with building managers, architects, contractors and cleaning companies. This testing is very important since it can lead to serious injury to innocent people walking on slippery floors. This test is also crucial for areas where oils and other lubricants can be found, such as restaurants kitchens and industrial facilities. Here we look at what skid resistance testing is, and who is to benefit or be aware about it.
Why should floors be tested for slipperiness?
It is important that you prove due diligence in order to avoid costly litigation should a slip accident happen on your premises. You have to show the court that you took every possible measure to ensure that the public areas and workplaces were safe, before you let people walk on these floors.
In most countries, the laws are quite clear as to who is liable when an accident happens. Firms have the duty to make sure that the workers and customers walking on their floors are safe at all times, in as far as is possible. Should the firm be found to have been negligent, then it can lead to civil or criminal liability litigation.
The first thing that a firm should do is conduct a slip resistance test on their floors to show compliance with the safety requirements. Should the floors fail the test, then certain measures will have to be implemented in order to bring the safety standards back to the required range.
Should a company or firm have untested floors within their premises, or have no risk assessment done, then that firm or company is being negligent and risks a heavy penalty in the case of a slip accident suit being files against them.
We provide slip resistance tests throughout the United Kingdom and Europe for all premises and industries. We also conduct safety and health consultancy and do risk assessments for any slippery surface.
Who is the main target in slip resistance testing?
Group 1 – The first group of people who are liable when it comes to slip resistance testing are architects, specifies and installers. Are they specifying a safe floor covering? How does it perform when slip resistance testing is done? Will the floor lead to any slip accidents happening on the premises and leave the owners in a legal suit?
There are times when a manufacturer will talk about great tiles with great properties. As an architect, specifier or installer, you need to know that the tile will meet the required specification for slip resistance. The only way to ascertain this is to ignore the manufacturers claim and perform an independent slip resistance test. This is where we come in; we provide independent slip resistance testing so you get to know that the floor will be safe after it is installed. This makes sure that you hand over a safe project to your client, and do not end up being liable in any accidents claims.
Group 2 – The next group of people who are liable in slip resistance accident claims are property owners and managers. When a slip accident happens within a facility or property, the managers find themselves facing hefty claims from the accident victims.
The safety and health management laws in most countries state that the property and facility managers should test their floors and carry out a risk assessment to avoid such accidents on the premises.
In order to determine whether a floor is safe or not, the managers and owners of facilities and premises should carry out slip resistance testing and ensure that a surface is compliant or not. If it is not compliant, then measures should be taken to rectify this. Anybody owning or managing a commercial property, where a floor has been installed, refurbished or has been used for a long time should have slip resistance testing performed on a regular basis.
In the event of a slip accident happening, the results and documentation of such tests are important in defending against a legal claim being lodged in court. It proves that the accident was not due to negligence on the part of the owner or manager of the premise.
Group 3 – The third group that finds itself in the crosshairs of legal suits is the contact cleaners. These ones are usually surprised when they are served with papers adding them to defendants in a slip accident claim.
The main issue is whether the contract cleaners is taking on a new floor before signing a cleaning contracts and whether the floor is kept in a finish a cleanliness state that promotes safety for people walking on it.
For example, consider that the contract cleaner took on a floor that was previously compliant to safety standards, and then later an accident happening and the floor was found not to be complaint. The managers or owners of the building will claim to have handed over a compliant floor, and poor cleaning has eroded this leading to the floor becoming non-compliant. This means the contract cleaner is liable.
Contract cleaners should insist on a slip resistance test being done before signing a cleaning contract, and then do periodic tests to ensure that the floor remains compliant.
Why should floors and other surfaces be tested regularly?
The owner or manager of a work environment or public space is responsible for the safety of the people within the environment. They should ensure that the places are risk free. Consider a situation where an employee spills a liter of oil on the floor and does not clean it up right away. He does not even ensure that the place is marked off and people warned not to walk on the floor where the spill has occurred. If any other person, whether an employee or customers falls when walking across that area, then the employee is found to be negligent and liable. This person may end up being sued, sacked or taken to court for criminal negligence. The same case occurs when it comes to owners and facility managers. They should make sure that their floors are safe, and any areas found to be unsafe, clearly marked or the floor changed with appropriate measures.
Knowledge is one of the most important factors when it comes to avoiding slip and fall accidents at any premise or facility. The first step is to know whether your floors are slippery and potentially dangerous or not. If you do find that the floors are not compliant to the required standards, then you should take the required stapes to ensure that the dangers are minimized. Then you should test regularly to make sure that the new standard is maintained.
This brings us to the primary reason for carrying out slip resistance testing – It is to ensure that all floor surfaces have enough traction levels to enable normal, accident-free use. If a worker or member of the public falls on your floors and you have not done any slip resistance testing, then you leave yourself open to costly litigation.
What type of flooring surfaces should be tested?
Mostly, any floors that have slippery surfaces should be tested regularly. Testing is also done on bath and shower material in hotels and other public cloak areas. Even a surface that is thought to be non-slip, such as wood, should be tested after it has been used for a long time, since there may be contaminants that affect the traction. Shower trays and bathrooms are usually treated with chemicals surfacing products which do not later the look of the bathroom, but increase the traction and friction, thereby making them safe for use.
The most risky floors are listed below. However, note that this list is not exhaustive, so you should contact us to get more information if your material is not listed here.
- Ceramic Natural stone, Marble
- Clay pavers
- Concrete paving and flags
- PCV and flexible materials
How are these surfaces tested?
The pendulum slip resistance test is the primary and most accurate method of testing such floors. It has the best traction properties and gives the results near the natural conditions and environment of the floor.
The pendulum test is the one used the most in UK and Europe. The pendulum best imitates the action of a foot walking and would give the best results for when the foot begins to slip. The beauty of this test is that it can be performed in a laboratory and also on site. There are certain standards that every surface has to adhere to, and these are best found using the pendulum test.
Actually, when litigation is taken to court, it is the pendulum test that is used and upheld in court. If you have tested your floors using any other methods, then the results will not stand in court and you might be found to be negligent.
Expert consultation, sophisticated roughness and surface profile analysis, expert witness in legal cases are all use to support slip resistance tests. Designers, manufacturers, contractors, distributors, installers and manufacturers all have a duty to care about the flooring materials that they use and propose. All the floors should be found to be “Fit for porpoise” and are risk free from the people who will be using the floors. The slip resistance of a floor is very important and the tests should be done regularly. There are laws that stipulate that all floors should be dry and free from lubricants before they are used. Slip resistance is done in these conditions to see what would happen should the floor be wet or oily.
How do you get slip resistance testing done on your premises?
We offer our slip resistance testing service to a wide range of industries. For a small one-time fee, we will test the floor surfaces in your premise, and then give you a detailed report. This report will be evidence that you have performed your due diligence to make sure that the public or workers in the premise are safe.
We are a leading provider of slip resistance testing all over the United Kingdom and Europe. We provide the Tortus Test and the Pendulum Test. We also give a full range of onsite consultancy service wall targeted at slip and skid matters. We test floors and surface at the site in order to identify a large number of important factors that will not be seen in the lab.
The factors considered can influence the slip resistance of flooring materials, even those that had passed the test within a lab. Factors include maintenance, cleaning regimes, wearing and weathering of the floor surface, substrate integrity, searching for presence of sealants that may affect friction, trafficking patterns and a lot more.
Skid resistance testing is crucial for any building owner, manager, architect, specifier, installer and any other party that may be found liable if an accident happens. It is your cumulative duty to ensure that these materials are found to be safe for use by anybody walking on them. It is your duty to ensure the safety of innocents by conducting slip resistance testing on all these floors. Do take time to contact us and see how we can perform these tests in the lab and on the site so you are free and safe from litigation, and the people walking on the floors are properly protected from slip and fall accidents.