Slips and trips are the most common cause of major accidents both at work and in public spaces, costing businesses and local authorities more than £512 million per year in compensation and legal fees. To help reduce such hazards and risks, and provide a safer environment for employees, customers and the public, Ceram, a leading provider of slip resistance testing and consultancy, now offers standardised flooring slip tests to ensure flooring surfaces do not pose a health and safety threat to people.
Ceram has published its free Guide to Slip Resistance Tests, which is available to download at www.ceram.com/slip and provides further information on slip testing and the approved test standards for shopping centres/malls, retailers, supermarkets, industrial premises, offices, hospitals, swimming pools and public buildings/spaces (including pavements).
More than 11,000 employees suffered serious injury as a result of a slip or trip last year, and UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures indicate that most of these accidents are the result of slips. The actual figures are substantially greater when non-work place accidents are also taken into account; in fact, half of all reported injuries to members of the public are caused by slips and trips. Whilst UK law dictates that employers have a legal requirement to ensure that workplace floors are not so slippery as to pose a health and safety risk, companies and authorities also have a duty of care to ensure protection for customers and the public. It is, therefore, essential that the slipperiness of flooring materials is accurately assessed.
Lisa Cobden, Head of Slip Resistance Testing at Ceram, explains: “The level of compensation claims for slips and trips is staggering and it is critical that businesses and authorities are fully aware of the potential dangers of slippery floor surfaces. They need to understand that in addition to other factors, cleaning regimes and wearing of the flooring surface as a result of trafficking can contribute to a change in a floor’s slipperiness over time; therefore, routine and comprehensive slip testing is advisable. This reduces the likelihood of litigation as a result of people slipping or tripping.”
Ceram performs both of the leading standardised slip tests - the pendulum slip test and the ramp slip test, with the choice dependent on the type of material used for the flooring, its surface profile and the environment in which the floor is being used. The pendulum test is the preferred test of the HSE and can be used both in the laboratory and on-site, and is suitable for use with non-profiled surfaces. The ramp test, which is performed in Ceram’s purpose-built laboratory, is ideal for industrial surfaces and swimming pools. Ceram also provides an expert witness service for court cases, providing technical slip test information on floor areas where accidents have occurred.