Three Common Fallacies about Floor Slip Resistance

There are three widely-held misconceptions about pedestrian slip resistance. If you’re aware of them it can help you avoid a nasty, expensive, and possibly life-changing surprise.

Fallacy #1: “If a floor has a matte finish — that is, it’s not “shiny” —, it won’t be slippery when wet.” Truth is, many floors that have a matte finish are quite slippery when wet. Worse yet, because of its appearance many pedestrians will assume the floor is not slippery and will not take precautions — such as making smaller strides and walking more slowly and cautiously — like they might on a glossy floor when it’s wet or their shoe bottoms are wet. This can increase the possibility of slip and fall accidents on these types of matte surfaces.

To avoid accidents on a floor that can get wet or otherwise lubricated (e.g. by deep fryer or broiler fat settled out of the air), have a sample of the flooring laboratory-tested for slip resistance by Safety Direct America before you make a purchase commitment. We can advise you as to what slip test safety standard is appropriate for a given situation: restroom, entrance lobby, pool deck, kitchen, bathtub, sidewalk, ramp, public shower, etc.

Fallacy #2: “If a flooring sample feels slip-resistant to my shoe when dry, it will also be slip-resistant when wet”. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Many smooth, glossy floors have excellent slip resistance when dry, but are treacherously slippery when wet. Again, laboratory floor slip testing by Safety Direct America can give you confidence that you’re buying the right flooring for the job. Sadly, many people have swimming pool decks installed that are slippery when wet! Children (and adults) running or even walking normally on such a deck are at risk of very serious injuries. At best, knowing that the pool deck is treacherous can spoil the fun that is the pool’s reason for being. Have your floors tested to determine how risky your floors are. Knowing your COF rating (Coefficient of Friction) will help you know just how safe your floors are.

Fallacy #3: “If flooring has good wet slip resistance when it’s purchased, it will preserve that slip resistance forever.” It is quite possible to buy flooring that has good wet slip resistance, given honest test results for friction and an appropriate safety standard applied to those results. However, in a situation with high foot traffic that slip resistance might only last a few weeks or months! McDonalds Restaurants found that out long ago and after years of research came up with the Sustainable Slip Resistance test to check the tile after wear simulating traffic in a busy restaurant. They adopted it as a new flooring specification, and we adopted their test method for the benefit of our clients.

Sustainable Slip Resistance (SSR) testing by Safety Direct America can help you assess whether the flooring you’re about to install, possibly at great expense, is likely to keep its wet slip resistance for more than a short time. With the proper information on the slip resistance of your floors, or the flooring you are going to possibly install in a new project or renovation, you can avoid costly lawsuits, injuries, and the replacing of the flooring after the official opening of the building, which could mean your building is shut down for several days or weeks leading to possibly millions of dollars in losses for the businesses in your building.

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