When a ‘safety’ floor is not a safety floor

Kerry Edwards  8 March 2016 15:57:18
Image:When a ‘safety’ floor is not a safety floor

Selecting slip resistant flooring that is sustainable for its guaranteed life can be a difficult area for everyone in the specification chain to understand and this is partly due to new so-called pseudo ‘safety’ products now entering the market which in reality don’t provide adequate sustainable wet slip resistance.

We asked John Mellor, Polyflor Market Manager for Safety Flooring, to shed some light on the situation…

"As product manager for Polyflor’s safety flooring ranges sold under the Polysafe brand, I take a great deal of interest in competitor activity and new developments of slip resistant flooring products.  

Of course, it is healthy to have competition and it helps the market to evolve.  It is well known in the trade that specific flooring manufacturers are renowned for their integrity and transparency in terms of sustainable slip resistance claims for safety flooring. However, it is unfortunate to say that there has been an influx of products entering the market over recent months that do not conform to the required sustainable safety floor performance credentials yet they are marketed as fully fledged safety floors.

We’ve come across one such ‘safety’ floor product which claims to provide superior slip resistance and is ‘HSE 36+ slip resistant’, however on closer inspection of technical information and product samples it is clear that it is not a safety floor that would perform over a long period of time in wet conditions.  

When examining the product in finer detail, it does not have any particles within its performance layer and relies solely on an emboss and coating that will wear in time, thereby offering only a transient level of slip resistance. A result of 36+ in an ex-factory Pendulum Slip Test in the wet may be achieved for this product due solely to its emboss and coating but once these wear after a period of time there would be no particles to provide continued slip resistance for the product’s lifetime. Therefore, an in-situ result of 36+ on the Pendulum is likely not to be achieved.

Image:When a ‘safety’ floor is not a safety floor

With these products on the market offering such misleading claims, slip resistance is becoming an even more confusing area for those specifying floors that need to perform in potentially wet conditions.  Polyflor always ensures that its safety flooring products are fully tested and fit for purpose, being constructed in such a way that particles exist through the performance layer for continual traction between foot and floor, of course, assuming the floor has been maintained correctly.

All of us in the flooring industry have a duty of care to provide the correct type of flooring where true sustainable wet slip resistance is needed, ensuring that building visitors or residents have the required underfoot protection, particularly as we have an ageing population.  Selected products should be fit for purpose and correctly specified according to HSE Guidelines, also meeting the required particle based safety flooring standard. "

Here’s the key criteria that you should be looking out for when choosing a safety floor product that is fit for purpose for your project. Safety flooring should…

·        Achieve a sustainable result of 36+ in the Pendulum Slip Test for slip resistance, tested in wet conditions
·        Conform to EN13845, the European standard for particle based safety flooring
·        Meet the 50,000 cycles abrasion test requirements to EN 13845, proving that performance of slip resistant particles is sustainable
·        Feature safety particles in the performance layer of the product - an emboss or gritted coating will only offer short term slip resistance and once trafficked will leave a smooth floor that is not slip resistant in wet conditions.
·        Not be specified solely on R ratings to the ex-factory Ramp Test (DIN 51130 & DIN 51097), as these ratings do not demonstrate any longevity in terms of the floorcovering’s slip resistance.

Find out more about safety flooring standards and testing methods in our safety flooring checklist. For more guidance on safety flooring please contact our Technical Support department on 0161 767 1912 or tech@polyflor.com.
Image:When a ‘safety’ floor is not a safety floor

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