Floor slip potential – Assess and specify your floor

When testing how safe a floor is, several factors are considered. However, it is not easy to tell how safe the floor will be even when these factors are considered. The factors interact in complex ways, and these may cause different reactions that will make a floor safe or slippery.

The type of activity that is carried out on the floor

This is the first and most important factor to be considered when determining the slip resistance of a floor. The other factors that follow are determined on the type of use that the floor is put to. For example, if the floor is used for simple pedestrian walking, then the resistance required is so low. If here is some running to be done on the floor, such as running through a train station to catch a train, then a higher resistance is required, even if it is the same floor. That illustrates the kind of action that is done on a floor and how it affects the slip resistance.

Contaminants on the floor

When floors are dry, they tend to give you the best slip resistance. When they get contaminated by water or oil, then the probability of slipping goes up. The contaminants provide a lubrication effect which brings about the slippage. Although liquids are the ones that provide the highest lubrication, solids like dust can also bring about this problem.


In order to prevent slips, footwear must have proper grip on the floor. The pattern of the underside is very important. These will bring problems to a floor specifier.

  • There are several situations where the specifier does not know the kinds of shoes that people will use to walk over the floor.
  • Most shoes have heels made of rubber or plastic and have a good friction. However, some do not have these heels and this brings a problem.
  • The so-called safety shoes do not have any direct ways of removing the lubrication effect of contaminants.

Effective cleaning of the floor

How the floor is cleaned can have a direct effect on the slip resistance of a floor. Most cleaning companies have come to see that simply getting dirt and debris from e floor is not enough. The floors are sometimes left in a very slippery state. They have come to see that the chemicals are very important in how the floors are left.

How the chemicals are applied or agitated also affects how slippery the floor will be after cleaning. It is important that the chemicals are completely rinsed away especially if they are oil-based.

Ideally, all floors should have a high slip resistance and be safe for people to walk or run across, but there are several factors that come into play. Not all have been discussed in this article, but these are the most important. That is how you know how slippery a floor may be and how your safety should be assured.

Are you looking for independent slip testing to be carried out in The UK? Surface Performance Ltd offer pendulum slip testing throughout The UK. Our head offices are located in London & Scotland however we offer a nationwide coverage at extremely competitive prices. Slip resistance testing is available in Bristol, Leeds, Leicester and Nottingham. We also have specialist slip resistance technicians located in Manchester, Bolton and Liverpool.
All of our slip testing technicians are fully qualified to perform UK slip testing in line with The HSE guidelines for slip resistance. We also perform micro roughness testing at all UK locations such as Brighton, London, Somerset, Bridgwater, Milton Keynes, Dorset & Cambridge.

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding slip testing, surface testing, pendulum testing and friction testing.