Stop Slips on Cruise Ships!

Since 2008, Safety Direct America has been helping some of the world’s foremost cruise ship companies to prevent slips and falls by helping their designers choose flooring appropriate to the situation (with the correct level of wet coefficient of friction). The work improves safety both on new cruise ships and on ships that are routinely retrofitted in drydock.

Benefits include:

  • Improve the cruise experience for passengers — more fun, less anxiety
  • Prevent slipping injuries on pool decks, water parks, food courts, bathrooms, spas, kitchens, and other areas that may get wet in use
  • Protect the cruise ship company and designer from unjustified litigation and claims of negligence
  • Eliminate adverse publicity from victorious plaintiffs’ lawyers that can affect the entire industry — including sister cruise ship companies
  • Reduce insurance costs
  • Increase profits

The thing cruise ship guests least expect and do not want is to get injured on their vacation. Other family members are usually affected when that happens, and if a passenger is sent off the ship for medical attention their cruise usually ends at that instant.

Slip risk factors on cruise ships include these:

  • Surfaces with water, sunblock, spilled beverages, condiments
  • Bare feet
  • Casual footwear with smooth soles (like bald tires on a wet road)
  • Alcohol use with benefit of “designated driver”
  • Anti-motion-sickness drugs and prescription drugs
  • Unfamiliar surroundings
  • Non-level flooring surface at times
  • Unpredictable variation in slope of flooring surface

Most of these risks can exist even when the ship is in port.

Our personnel are experienced in cruise ship travel, both on oceans and on rivers. Our services include laboratory testing of flooring samples with the pendulum tester and the BOT-3000E. The pendulum slip test results can be compared with accepted standards for different situations: stairs; pool decks; pool stairs and ramps leading into water; showers and tubs; buffet food servery areas; and many others. The data are not only more useful, but often more up-to-date and reliable than catalog data from flooring vendors.

We also test the flooring for durability of the slip resistance under simulated heavy foot traffic, using the McDonalds Restaurants test for Sustainable Slip Resistance. This helps to assess whether the flooring will lose its wet slip resistance after a few months of use. Changing out flooring on a cruise ship is not a trivial job, and the floor must keep its good slip resistance for at least several years before going into drydock for remodeling. We are available for field slip resistance testing on an hourly basis when needed. All of our test reports are signed and wet-stamped by a U.S. state-registered Professional Engineer.

A cruise ship’s situation is different from McDonalds’, and the real-world situation on a cruise ship is different from that in laboratory testing. Our data help designers without precluding the use of certain flooring where judgment indicates that it should be permissible. For instance, in areas where spills may happen and lighting is good, diligence in quickly cleaning spills up and drying the floor can play a role in flooring selection. Low-traffic areas are another situation where qualitative judgment can play a role. Data from Safety Direct America can help cruise ship architects and designers to make these decisions based on firm, reliable skid test data rather than guesswork.

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