The Health and Safety Executive have shown that a combination of factors contribute to slip accidents. They have developed a slip potential model, which identifies the contributing factors. In assessing the potential for slip, there are various tools available. The most well know being the pendulum test, or coefficient of friction test.
An indication of slipperiness in water contaminated condition conditions may be simply obtained by measuring the surface roughness of the flooring material.
Flexflooring have recently invested in a surface roughness tester from PCE instruments. The instrument measures very small valleys and peaks in the surface and allows us to ensure that some of our surfaces, such as Stonex sand can be classified as low potential for slip.
Measure and Classification
Slip potential classification is based on a parameter Rz, microroughness, which very broadly is an average of the peak to trough measures in the floors surface. The surface is then classified as below 10µm, high potential, 10 – 20 µm, moderate potential and greater than 20 µm low potential.
Research has shown that Rz roughness parameter gives a good indication of floor slipperiness in water contaminated conditions. Roughness meters are not suitable for very rough and undulating surfaces.
The classifications above relate to water contaminated conditions. If there are other contaminants, different levels of roughness will be needed to lower slip potential