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Understanding Slip Resistance Laws

testing slip resistanceIn a recent article, we looked at how to reduce public falls and accidents. One point we championed for the reduction of public falls was the need for small slotted slip-resistant grates in public areas. Well, it looks like legislators agreed with us, because new legislation surrounding slip resistance has been implemented. In this article, we’ll examine the real life implications of the test methodologies defined by recently released AS 4586-2013 Slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surface materials, and explore how they are relevant to your next project. The classifications are explained in the handbook HB 198:2014 Guide to the specification and testing of slip resistance of pedestrian surfaces with a view to aid the designer in assigning the correct level of slip resistance for an application.

When are slip resistance standards required?
All slip resistance standards and safety requirements must be rigorously adhered to in commercial and industrial projects in order to maintain public safety, increase access and avoid compensation claims. Pedestrian areas such as walkways, shopping centres, hospitals and other public areas require various levels of slip resistance as outlined by the classifications in HB 198. But it pays to keep in mind that standards for one project, for example an outdoor architectural installation, might be vastly different to, say, Heelsafe Antislip gratesthose for an indoor food service environment. Furthermore, the compatibility of floor finishes with adjacent grates is critical to avoid undesirable trip hazards. The safety requirements for such spaces will also vary greatly depending on WHS and disability access requirements. ACO’s Heelsafe® Anti-Slip grates cover a range of slip resistant ratings to cater for drainage projects in a wide range of sites.

What are slip resistance ratings?
In order to assess the slip resistance of a grate or floor surface, three tests are specified in AS 4586 which measure slip resistance in various areas.

  • The wet pendulum test can be applied for areas that become wet in the rain, such as stormwater grates.
  • The wet-barefoot inclining platform test is designed for wet areas where shoes are not worn, such as water parks and beach areas.
  • The third kind of test is designed for commercial and industrial areas that can become dirty with oil or grease. It is called the oil wet inclining platform test and is applied in internal industrial and commercial environments such as kitchens and food processing areas.

These tests determine ratings of slip resistance that are important to understand when undertaking a commercial or industrial project that requires drainage systems to be installed. They ensure that the appropriate level of slip resistance is applied to avoid slips and accidents.

Which level of slip resistance is right?
With the increase in litigation and compensation for injuries caused by slips and falls, designers must now closely consider specifying grates and floor surfaces that comply with the appropriate standard for slip resistance. However, this does not always mean installing a grate with a high level of slip resistance. Over specifying a grate which is too slip resistant can be dangerous for the public and in fact contribute to an increase in public accidents and compensation claims. Designers need to weigh up slip resistance ratings against other potential hazards. For example, if a grate has a higher slip resistance rating than the surrounding floor surface, it could catch a toe or heel and cause a trip hazard.

The important thing is for designers not to lose sight of the main objectives when installing grates: ensuring the safety of patrons and providing exceptional surface drainage solutions.

How can I make my project slip resistant?
To help prevent public injuries, ACO believes that slip resistant grates should be implemented where possible. Each of our commercial grates complies with AS 4586 legislative requirements for slip resistance.

Our Heelsafe® Anti-Slip grates are available in stainless steel, ductile iron and plastic designs to suit applications in a wide range of projects. The grates feature raised mechanical nodes for tread durability and are designed to prevent small heels from becoming trapped. These industrial, residential and commercial grates comply with a number of Australian and international standards for pedestrian, wheelchair, bicycle and cane use.

To learn more about proper slip resistant grate specification, refer to our Slip Resistance technical bulletin. For more information about our extensive range of Heelsafe® Anti-Slip grates, click here.

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