Stop Slips on Cruise Ships

A slip and fall on a cruise ship can not only ruin several peoples’ dream vacation, but also cost a cruise line company major bucks. Two of the world’s largest cruise ship companies are now using Safety Direct America for testing and recommendations to prevent future slipping accidents.

Cruise ships are especially vulnerable to slips due to several factors: unfamiliar surroundings; bare feet on wet surfaces (pool decks, showers, water parks); lots of alcohol consumption (why not?); seniors on multiple prescriptions; flu and norovirus; changing angle of the deck while under way; and other risks.

Because flooring can only be changed out in dry dock, it’s crucial to pick the right flooring from the start for retrofits and for new builds. Vendors’ slip resistance data may be old and unreliable, and unfortunately seldom tell the full story. Testing should include the McDonalds Restaurants Sustainable Slip Resistance test and the ASTM E303 pendulum slip resistance test.

The Pendulum Test Value (PTV) measured in the McDonalds test can be used to determine what areas a given flooring is suitable for. For instance, a wet PTV of 25 or less can be OK for areas that are dry in use. For external stair nosings, pool decks and communal showers, at least 40 (using a soft rubber pendulum slider) is advisable. For brows (gangways) a PTV of 44 or higher may be needed. In all cases where indoor floors get wet it’s best that the minimum wet dynamic coefficient of friction by the Acutest exceed 0.42. Achieving that low bar should also be considered.

A cruise ship’s situation is different from McDonalds’, and the real-world situation on a ship is different from that in laboratory slip resistance testing. These tests are intended to help cruise ship companies without precluding the use of certain flooring where judgment indicates it should be permissible. In areas where spills may happen, diligence in quickly cleaning them up and drying the floor can play a role in flooring selection. Low-traffic areas are another situation where qualitative judgment may play a role.