Why is safe flooring important?
By means of Legal notice 44 of 2002, the Workplace (Minimum Health and Safety Requirements) Regulation stipulates that all suitable measures are to be taken to render slip proof any highly polished surface and that the public areas of a building are to be maintained in order to prevent injury, including slips. Therefore the workplace and areas accessed by the general public are legally required to protect users from slips, trips or falls.
While not all floor tiles will have a rating assigned to them, if they are labelled as anti-slip then they will have an R (ramp test) rating - the equivalent of its likelihood to prevent slips on a flat surface. R ratings vary from R9, which are not tested but meet minimum standards, to R13, the highest slip resistance attainable.
So what exactly is a Floor ‘R Rating’? The R9 to R13 Ratings are values that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), architects, floor specifiers, builders and YOU can use to determine the ‘slip resistance’ of a surface before purchasing flooring.
The R rating is obtained through a Ramp Test, which is conducted for a specific floor type to be tested being fixed to a ramp and oil is applied to the ramp. The ramp is then raised and the human test subject walks in small steps backwards and forwards wearing boots until they slip on the floor (the person is attached to a safety harness to prevent any injury). The computerised readout then determines the R ratings based on the angle of slip. Do Note that the values start at R9 which is the LOWEST slip resistance R Rating; the R Ratings then progress through increasing values to the HIGHEST floor slip resistance at R13.
Could I have a Ramp Test carried out?
You can BUT….
1. The test is VERY expensive
2. The test is specific to a floor surface and is intended more for floor manufacturers than the every day floors found in the workplace, shops, hotels, airports, swimming pools etc
3. The Ramp Test arrives at a ‘range of result’s and is not particularly specific if you are trying to exactly judge existing floors fitted or to determine if new floor samples are suitable.
The alternative measurement system is the German DIN Standard.
What we offer is a machine called the 'slip alert', which measures the coefficient of friction for both wet and dry surfaces. The coefficient of friction is a mathematical term used to describe the effect of dragging one substance (shoe sole material) over another (flooring surface). This coefficient is a measurement of the relative ability of various surfaces to resist the sliding or slipping of the selected material. The slip alert gives a reading, which determines whether the floor in question is slippery or not and what can be done to render it safe. The below image gives a rough idea of the readings observed as well as a video;