Slip resistance is a complicated topic worth understanding if you are a property owner, manager or a participant in the construction process. Under Australian law, suppliers, designers and installers of floor finishes all carry responsibilities for the delivery of safe environments for occupants including floor surfaces which are fit for their intended purpose.
Standards Australia have written two relevant handbooks: HB 197: 1999 “An Introductory Guide to the Slip Resistance of Pedestrian Surfaces” and HB 198: 2014 “Guide to the Specification and Testing of Slip Resistance of Pedestrian Surfaces”. These, along with Australian Standard 4586-2013 “Slip Resistance Classification of New Pedestrian Surface Materials” are vital reference documents for specifiers of flooring materials for differing applications however given the broad variety of circumstances and the way these documents have been drafted, the definitions are far from clear cut.
In context, within an increasingly litigious environment, slip resistance has become a very complicated subject influenced by site and situation specific factors such as the tile surface finish and format, surface incline, the slip resistance of adjoining surfaces, likely/possible contaminants, occupant numbers, occupant footwear (or lack thereof) and cleaning regimes amongst others. Several different slip resistance classifications exist.
Slip Resistance Classifications
New flooring materials can be assessed into four different classifications:
- Internal or external surfaces where there is a likelihood of the surface becoming wet or contaminated during normal use
A, B, C Classifications
- Surfaces that are intended for use in predominantly barefoot areas
- Internal surfaces that should remain clean and dry during normal use
- Profiled and textured surfaces, or surfaces intended to be installed where heavy contamination may be encountered under normal use
For each of the above classifications, different test methods exist. All test methods are a simulation only and are used as standardised methodologies to assess and compare different flooring surface materials. Each test method has its own inherent limitations and will not necessarily be representative of a real-life situation and those potential variables.
Wet Pendulum (P Classification) and Dry Floor Friction (D Classification) tests can be performed in the laboratory or on site strictly following the test standard. Wet Barefoot (A, B, C Classifications) and Oil-Wet (R Classifications) Including Platform tests can only be performed in a laboratory under strict conditions in accordance with the test standards.
The Slip Resistance-Cleaning Connection
There is a connection between slip resistance and cleanability and between cleaning regimes and slip-resistance. A simple solution advocated by some is to increase tile slip resistance beyond that actually required by the Standards and Handbooks. This simplistic approach is likely to result in a dramatically increased cleaning effort and may generate other issues such as changes between adjoining surface slip resistances which exceed that allowed by the Standard. Cleaning practices can also alter the slip resistance of a floor material detrimentally.
For more information see Ceramic Solutions information brochure Ceramic Solutions: Diligent Decisions and Surface Preservation for Ceramic Tiles.
Ceramic Solutions are experts in this field and will not only suggest the optimum slip resistant surface for your premise but also discuss a cleaning regime to keep that surface slip resistant and hygienic. For further information see our brochure Specifying Compliant Slip Resistant Flooring.
Ceramic Solutions have access to a huge range of fit-for-purpose ceramic tiles with slip resistance ratings. Contact our knowledgeable staff for further assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (03) 9545 5322.