Slip resistant flooring is a critical consideration in the construction industry, especially concerning safety standards in commercial buildings. Slips and falls present significant risks, leading to severe injuries, and architects, project managers, builders, owners, and certifiers all play crucial roles in addressing this challenge. At Classic Ceramics, we recognise the impact of inadequate slip resistance and strive to offer comprehensive insights into this essential aspect.
Slip safety concerns
In Australia, the Building Codes Board emphasises that slip falls are a primary health and safety concern within commercial structures. Failure to select compliant products or substituting them with non-compliant ones implicates various stakeholders, ultimately affecting owners who bear the majority of costs due to insufficient guidance. With over 40 million square meters of tiles specified annually, only a fraction considers the product’s performance over time. Slip-resistant flooring is specifically designed to minimise slipperiness and enhance traction, with slip resistance being the force that resists shoe or foot sliding on the walkway surface. Factors such as walkway surface, footwear bottom, and foreign materials between them contribute to slip resistance.
What areas require slip resistance floors?
Determining areas requiring slip-resistant floors involves evaluating high-traffic zones, surface texture variations, moisture-prone regions, or cluttered spaces. Some of the most common places that involve these factors and therefore require floor testing services include:
- External Walkways – These areas are often subject to heavy foot traffic and can also become wet during the wet season.
- Ramps – Because of their straight, downward surface ramps must be tested for slip resistance. External ramps in particular pose greater risks since they are exposed to outdoor elements.
- Entry and Exit Points – Apart from being exposed to the elements and heavy foot traffic, building entry and exit points often have transitions into smooth internal floors that can cause slips and falls.
- Communal Change Rooms – Locker rooms and dressing rooms, particularly those near shower rooms like in gyms and schools are likely to cause slips, trips and falls due to slippery wet floors and also because they are often cluttered with bags, towels and other belongings.
- Communal Shower Rooms – Of course, these too should also be slip-checked as they are always wet and slippery.
- Commercial Kitchens, Food and Drink Serving Areas – Plenty of spills and foot traffic happen in commercial kitchens, bars and other food serving areas.
- Swimming Pool Surrounds – Like shower rooms, these areas are notorious for being constantly wet and slippery, and people walking on them barefoot increases the chances of slips and falls.
- Steps and Stairs – These can be found in just about every building, and there are several reasons why they need to be checked. First of all, they easily get worn out due to foot traffic. This wear, which includes uneven steps, ripped carpeting and loose or worn stair nosing can cause accidents. Secondly, stairs that have even a slight difference in step height or error in design can easily cause trips and falls.
Is slip resistance legislated?
Legislation like the Building Code of Australia and Disability Standards prioritize safe design, mandating slip-resistant surfaces in commercial buildings, particularly in emergency access and egress areas. While Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulations aim for harmonization, due diligence remains imperative in reducing slip, trip, and fall risks.
Ceramic tiles are classified based on technical characteristics, determining their suitability for specific applications. Classic Ceramics offers a “fit for purpose” guarantee, ensuring the recommended tile aligns with its intended use. While certain wear tests might not be part of Australian Standards, tile suppliers are obligated to provide materials suitable for their intended purpose.
Meeting your safety needs
The responsibility lies with manufacturers to ensure products are fit for their intended use, disclosing any limitations or test results to users or installers. Classic Ceramics prioritises safety and strive to provide products that not only meet standards but exceed expectations, ensuring a safer built environment.