There are a number of methods of increasing the slip resistance of floors which include acid etching, blasting, grinding, paint with sand, grooves, floor sanding, proprietary treatments and adhesive strips.
Certain treatments and other proactive maintenance solutions are outlined within is AS/NZS 3661.2:1994 Slip resistance of pedestrian surfaces – Guide to the reduction of slip hazards.
The main anti-slip and non-slip treatments that are commonly provided include:
This generally is of a hydrofluoric, phosphoric or hydrochloric solution that eats into the surface increasing the surface roughness and micro-porosity to some degree. Care must be taken that the surface does not discolour and cleaning regimes may need to be modified.
The coatings provided are generally a polymer such as epoxy or polyurethane coating with grit embedded. The slip resistance properties of the coating are dependent on the size, geometry and the packing structure of the grit within the matrix Be warned that many companies state that the treatment is not a coating, however in many instances it is actually an acid etching treatment.
Whilst “sand blasting’ is banned, due to the health effects of respirable crystalline silica, forms of abrasive blasting include metals shot and other minerals such as garnet and the like. The material that is shot against the material roughens the surface which increases the slip rating of the surface. This will impair the aesthetics is generally used in more industrial and commercial environments. This is a particularly useful treatment for large commercial areas such as car parks within commercial buildings and shopping centres.
Another mechanical anti-slip treatment whereby large diamond grinding pads ground the surface rougher which aids to increase the surface roughness. Similar to shot blasting, grinding is a harsh treatment that affects the aesthetics and cleanability of the surface significantly. A generally recommendation is to try a 50 – 80 grind, which then requires slip resistance testing by a NATA accredited testing facility to determine the slip resistance rating.
Honing is similar to grinding, although not as rough. This sis used more so for stone materials.
Strips with high slip resistance ratings of R13 or P5 can easily be obtained with adhesive strips with grit embedded, similar to coatings, the slip rating is dependent on the size and geometry of the grit and particles that are adhered to the tape material. They are easy to apply and colours can be easily selected to provide luminance contrast or photo luminance. The adhesive strips do need to be checked and may require replacement on a regular basis.
How do I evaluate a non-slip or anti-slip treatment
Samples of treatments should be evaluated in terms of the increase in slip resistance and any other characteristic deemed to be important to the form and function of the floor surface. This may include but is not limited to; cost, cleanability, mechanical properties, chemical properties adhesion to surface and aesthetics.
Slip resistance testing should be undertaken by a NATA accredited testing company to ensure that you are obtaining slip test results that can be relied upon.
The effectiveness of anti-slip and non-slip treatments and coatings is provided through the guidance of Australian Standard AS 4360 Risk Management. This Australian Standard provides a systematic approach in evaluating appropriate options available to increase the slip resistance. A trial of suitable options will provide the required information to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the identified treatments.
The Term Anti-slip & Non-slip
The term anti-slip or non-slip could be conceived as possibly miss-leading as all surfaces will have a degree or risk in that people may slip and fall on them, no matter how slip resistant the surface is measured. So even if the surface is considered “non-slip” there will be circumstances whereby people may slip and fall. No floor will ever be failsafe, however the term anti-slip & non-slip should be seen as a preventative measure rather than absolute in the sense of slip and fall prevention.
This term should not be confused however anti-slip & non-slip treatment companies may provide claims that their treatment meet certain circumstances. This is often provided with a guarantee or warranty. The guarantee, claims and warranties require to be investigated to ensure their authenticity and independent NATA accredited slip resistance testing is conducted to confirm the slip resistance of the surface. Testing is also recommended again within 3 months or sooner of the initial treatment to ensure that significant changes have not occurred which may contribute to a slip and fall.
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