What makes flooring safe or unsafe, and how it affects the people that use it, are incredibly important issues to us. Different environments demand different solutions to keep people safe, and that’s where our expertise helps you make safe choices. We’ve gone the extra mile to ensure we provide solutions that give more protection in the areas that need it.
We offer two different types of safety flooring, as well as smooth flooring for areas with a low slip risk. Deciding which type you need is straight-forward. It’s all down to the contaminants present in your environment, as it’s contaminants that determine your level of slip risk. So all you have to do is match the type of flooring you need to the contaminant you have.
Developed to meet the toughest demands, you’ll find our hardest working, smartest products within this type offering up to Pendulum Test Value (PTV) >55 and R11 and R12 levels of slip resistance, plus our highest level of performance. You can rely on these to deliver lifetime sustained slip resistance, even with contaminants such as grease or shampoo, reducing the risk of anyone slipping to just one in a million. Guaranteed.
We’re talking commercial kitchens with the grease, oils and spillages that just can’t be avoided. And wet environments peppered with shampoos and shower products, lotions and creams, to be negotiated by bare feet or shoes.
These areas demand our specialist solutions for very high slip risk – anything less is not worth the risk.
In areas where there’s risk of a water spillage, we recommend our safety flooring ranges. These products deliver sustained slip resistance, reducing the risk of slipping to one in a million for the lifetime of the flooring in areas where water is the contaminant. Guaranteed.
All our solutions for high slip-risk areas have PTV≥ 36 and are within the R10 slip resistance category. You know what it’s like if you’ve ever been to a busy shopping centre when it’s been raining outside – wet shoes and dripping umbrellas can make the floor slippery. Likewise, there’s potential for wet floors in coffee shops, restrooms and entrance areas.
These areas demand our solutions for high slip risk to keep staff and visitors safe.
For areas with a low slip risk, where spillages rarely happen and there’s no direct access from outside bringing wet or muddy footprints, our smooth flooring solutions are ideal. For corridors, waiting areas, classroom and wards, smooth flooring delivers ease of cleaning, durability and a wider range of aesthetic options.
Slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of injury in the workplace. Nearly 37.5 million falls worldwide require medical attention each year.
Can falls be prevented?
In most cases: yes. Simply install an appropriate safety floor.
Wet and dry contaminants on flooring create a film that prevents contact between a shoe and the floor which can result in a slip or fall.
A wet film only needs to be 1-2 µm thick to prevent complete contact between a shoe and the flooring: that’s about one tenth the thickness of a human hair.
Dry contaminants such as dust and flour can act like millions of tiny ball bearings, which can also result in a slip or fall.
Safety flooring works by incorporating aggregates into a wear layer. When these aggregates are sufficient in number and quality, they can penetrate the wet film to provide contact with the shoe, or sit proud to prevent the ball bearing effect of dry contaminants.
Not all contaminants pose the same level of risk, nor are they always present. Your risk level will vary depending on the nature of the contaminants and whether they are continuously present. Our flooring solutions have been developed to match real-world scenarios so you can match your risk to our solutions.
There’s a big difference between ‘slip resistance’ and ‘sustained slip resistance’.
‘Sustained slip resistance’ protects people from slips and falls for the lifetime of the flooring.
But not all safety flooring on the market offers slip resistance for its declared lifetime. We know this because external, independent laboratory tests prove it.
At the moment there’s no legal requirement for sustained slip resistance for safety flooring, or even an agreed industry standard on how to measure it.
So some products can be manufactured with a thin coating or emboss that qualifies them as a safety flooring when newly made in the factory, but that coating can wear away and leave users vulnerable.
Altro safety flooring is tough. We manufacture using combinations of silicon carbide, quartz and aluminium oxide throughout the entire wear layer, so that as the flooring is used, it keeps delivering the same level of slip resistance, and confidence for the lifetime of your installation.
When safety flooring with a lifetime sustained slip resistance of Pendulum Test Value (PTV) ≥ 36 is installed, the risk of anyone slipping is just one in a million. If a different type of flooring is used, the flooring could lose its slip resistance and over time the odds of someone slipping could be as high as one in two. That’s a big difference.
Our safety flooring solutions all offer our one in a million slip risk for life. Look for the one in a million logo and lifetime slip resistance logos for the confidence of sustained slip resistance guaranteed.
We go beyond current requirements and provide sustained slip resistance for the lifetime of the flooring on all our safety flooring ranges.
We work with leading international test houses and also invest in additional tests to make sure our products consistently deliver to the highest standards.
As the inventors of safety flooring, we have an established pedigree in championing the need for safety. This is why we’re campaigning for responsible information on sustained slip resistance to indicate how long flooring will maintain its slip resistance performance.
We strongly recommend that you check the sustained slip resistance of any safety flooring with the manufacturer to make sure you use the most effective product for each area. We firmly believe in sustained slip resistance and always recommend flooring which will keep you safe in those areas with a very high or high slip risk.
Making sure that slip resistance is tested as accurately as possible is really important to us, alongside sharing the information you need to make informed and safe choices.
While there are lots of different methods of testing, we combine them to get the most accurate proof of how our flooring solutions perform. This means we can give reliable evidence of how pioneering our flooring is and reassure our customers that that are in safe hands.
The most common and reliable methods of testing slip resistance are outlined below.
The 'pendulum' is a swinging, dummy heel that sweeps over a set area of flooring in a controlled manner to simulate slipping on a wet floor. The slipperiness of the flooring has a direct and measurable effect on the pendulum value. Flooring that achieves a wet result of ≥36 on the Pendulum Test has a low slip potential. At Altro we offer safety flooring for shod areas that exceeds the ≥36 rating, indicating the lowest potential for a slip, with a slip risk of just one in a million.
The Pendulum Test Value (PTV) gives an accurate indicator of floor surface slipperiness. Additional information from surface microroughness readings can also be obtained.
|PTV||Potential to slip classification||Risk 1 in:|
Source: Ciria, Safer Surfaces to Walk on
The total surface roughness of flooring material is measured using a microroughness meter, which measures in Rz microroughness values (microns). It traces a needle over different areas of the flooring, taking peak to valley measurements to calculate surface microroughness. A surface roughness of 20 microns or above implies a low slip risk.
You can download free software from the Health and Safety Executive Slip Assessment Tool (SAT) which helps you carry out a risk assessment with a surface microroughness meter, so you can get a slip risk classification for a floor.
The Ramp Test is widely used, and its 'R' values are quoted by most flooring companies. R9 to R13 values are based on angle measurements of a motor oil-covered ramp that an operator, wearing work boots, walks on. The angle at which the operator slips forms the R value, but because the most common contaminant on floors is water not oil, and most of us don’t wear safety boots in our day to day business, the ramp test doesn't give a true representation of what happens in real life situations.
We believe R values don't tell you the whole story, and need to be viewed alongside other measures. For example, the R10 category spans a huge range of slip resistance. Within this category you will find products that offer slip resistance only for areas with low slip risk, as well as those with much greater slip resistance that are more likely to be suitable for areas with high slip risk, and most likely manufactured using very different methods. Yet all these products are broadly rated ‘R10’.
It's often assumed that the scale of R values starts at R1 and ends at R13 – R1 being a measure of the greatest slipperiness. So an R9 value is often thought to indicate a surface that provides good slip resistance and some manufacturers don't try to dispel this misunderstanding. The truth is that R values start at R9, and it indicates the least slip resistance.
Where you see R10 AND a corresponding PTV ≥36 together, as with Altro safety flooring, you can be sure of the slip resistance of the product. Our specialist solutions for very high risk areas all have an R11 rating or higher.
|R Classification||Angle range necessary||COF|
|9||6 - 10°||0.11 - 0.18|
|10||10 - 19°||0.18 - 0.34|
|11||19 - 27°||0.34 - 0.51|
|12||27 - 35°||0.51 - 0.70|
A barefoot version of the test (DIN 51097) also exists, using a 0.1 % soap solution as contaminant. This simulates conditions in a shower and cannot be used to measure installed floor coverings. It is reported as A, B, C.
|A||12 - 17°||0.21 - 0.31|
|B||18 - 23°||0.32 - 0.43|
The SATRA Pedatron Test measures the effect of one million steps over a confined area of flooring, using a shoe with standard sole. It's used to measure flooring surface wear. Accurate wear patterns are produced by studying and replicating different walking gaits, incorporating straight and turning steps.
At Altro, we invest in this test as yet another accurate way to measure sustained slip resistance.
These tests are:
Manufacturers send ex-factory materials to independent test houses to certify that their products are slip-resistant. This means the results can be based on flooring that has a thin coating or emboss which was applied to increase the level of slip resistance for the test.
We believe that these thin levels of slip resistance can wear off in just a few months. And this leaves a much less slip-resistant surface which could fall significantly below recommended levels. If this happens, the floor could be unsafe. This is why we believe that the only true way for a floor covering's performance to be measured is when it's already installed and has been so for some time.
'Polyvinyl chloride floor coverings with particle based enhanced slip resistance – Specification', is the test for the European standard that covers slip-resistant flooring. To be classified as a PVC safety floor, we believe the product must conform to this standard.
The traditional method
Traditional safety flooring includes silicon carbide and often a coloured quartz too, and is characterised by its sparkly appearance. This method of production is still popular with many manufacturers.
The new generation method
New generation safety flooring is also known as 'invisible slip', and uses aluminium oxide instead of silicon carbide. Aluminium oxide is hard-wearing and transparent, and provides the same level of performance with non-sparkly, aesthetic benefits. This method involves structuring the product to minimise dirt retention.
Two technologies, one slip-resistant outcome
Whichever method we use, they both have one thing in common: the slip-resistant particles are found throughout the entire wear layer, providing sustained slip resistance for the lifetime of the product.
All safety flooring needs to be maintained to make sure it performs to expected standards. Things to consider include:
Always follow the manufacturer's cleaning recommendations. Incorrect cleaning can lead to a build-up of dirt and/or cleaning chemicals on the surface of the flooring which can act as a barrier to effective slip resistance.
Footwear plays an important role in slip prevention and recommendations can be made to staff in certain locations like hospitals and restaurants to significantly reduce the risk of injury.
We strongly recommend carrying out a risk assessment on any area you're thinking of installing flooring to identify all potential slip hazards. Some sectors clearly outline the need for risk assessments. The Department of Health's Healthcare Building Requirements set out essential quality and safety standards.
These requirements state that before a new or replacement floor covering is specified, a risk assessment should be conducted considering:
Many of these factors can be made worse if lighting isn't good enough for users to see potential hazards. And stairs are a particularly dangerous area.
Because we take safety so seriously, we think that risk assessments should become best practice in all sectors. This would protect people who use the flooring, and also those who are responsible for the health and safety of their employees and visitors.
If you need help carrying out a risk assessment, use the information sheet on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.
Check out the HSE website where there are numerous publications available to give you more information about these issues.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, regulation 12 (12 a) states:
In the UK the UK Slip Resistance Group (UKSRG) and The Health and Safety Executive are two authorities on slip resistance.
Virtually everyone involved in a construction project has legal duties under The Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) including anyone who chooses flooring. The list of ‘dutyholders’ are defined on the HSE website.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA)*
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone affected by their work, so far as is reasonably practicable, which means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the risk in terms of money, time or trouble. This includes taking steps to control slip and trip risks.
Employees have a duty to take care of their own health and safety and that of others and must use any safety equipment provided.
Find out more about your responsibilities as an employer to reduce slips and trips.
The duties of designers under the CDM regulations 2015** include these statements:
* Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence.
**Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0
Lots of people use public transport and it's important to make sure that when they do, they stay as safe as possible. And this includes flooring, which should be slip-resistant. Altro help transport providers keep their passengers safe with durable flooring.
Find out more about our product ranges on our dedicated transport pages
Flooring for buses and trains needs to be durable and easy to clean. It should also be slip-resistant.
Many slip accidents happen on wet floors, usually on relatively smooth surfaces like those often seen inside buses and trains. Wet weather and spills can make transport flooring treacherous for staff and passengers – especially vulnerable groups like the elderly, who could experience serious repercussions from a fall.
Different flooring types provide different levels of slip resistance. And although smooth and rubber flooring are popular choices for transport, they're not slip-resistant when wet.
Altro safety flooring provides excellent slip resistance when wet and achieves a minimum Pendulum Test Value (PTV) of ≥36 for shod areas.
Altro safety flooring offers the benefit of slip resistance without compromising on other important features for transport, including durability and ease of cleaning.
Altro safety flooring is impact-resistant, which makes it very durable. Our generous, industry-leading guarantees prove our confidence in the longevity of our flooring,
To combat stains from food and drink, salt and dirt, it’s important that the cleaning regime is frequent and simple. Our safety flooring provides a robust, hardwearing surface that resists many common stains, odours and common chemicals for better hygiene. Our products have Altro Easyclean Technology for lasting attractive appearance and savings in time and cleaning costs.