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Summary Bulletin: Slip Resistant Floor Surfaces

Authors: Quinn, J., Bridge, C.
Illustrators/Contributors: Svegner, M.
Published: 8th February 2018
Audience: Consumers, Industry, Librarians/Researchers/Students
ISBN: 978-0-7334-3646-8
DOI: 10.4227/169/5a7bcd267a2c3

Abstract

Slipping on a floor and falling is a major cause of injury in the home. Older people are among the most susceptible to slip and fall injuries and risk a greater degree of injury when falls occur.

Recent building regulations have specified requirements for the slip resistance of stairs and ramps in all dwellings, as well as floor surfaces in some common areas of higher-density residential dwelling buildings and some specialised dwellings for people with disability. However, these regulations are applicable to new construction only. There is building regulation for slip resistance of existing floors in residential dwellings. Having slip resistant floor surfaces in homes is reliant on home designers, purchasers, owners and residents, either selecting appropriate floors at the time of construction, or modifying inappropriate floors in the existing home. The floor surfaces then need to be maintained so that slip resistance is retained.

For the residential stairs and ramps that are required to be slip resistant, the Australian Building Code provides an acceptable minimum slip resistance classification for the floor surface. However, there is limited guidance available on achieving slip resistant floor surfaces in other areas of the home. Australian Standards handbooks’ recommended slip resistance classification for floor surfaces are focused on public environments; quite different to the residential environment. Slip resistance classifications and their corresponding test methods need to be understood when selecting a floor product, to ensure that the classification of a particular floor product is applicable to residential environments. Many floor products do not come with a slip resistance classification rating at all.

This Summary Bulletin responds to recent Australian regulatory changes for slip resistance of floor surfaces within dwellings and on accessways in common areas of dwelling buildings. The current regulations and Australian Standards for slip resistance classification and testing are detailed, and their applicability to residential dwellings discussed. Methods for selecting appropriate slip resistant floor surfaces in new homes, and methods of modifying existing floor surfaces to make them more slip resistant, are then examined.

Table of Contents

  • Glossary
  • Background
  • Factors Affecting Slip Resistance
    • The Shoe/foot–Floor Interface
    • Personal Factors
    • Environment Factors
  • Regulatory Requirements and Guidelines for Slip Resistant Floor Surfaces in Homes
    • Building Code of Australia (BCA)
    • Australian Standards and Guides for Access and Safety in Housing
    • Australian Standards for Slip Resistance
  • The Need for Slip Resistant Floor Surfaces in Homes
    • Providing the slip resistant floor surfaces required by the BCA
    • Providing slip resistant floor surfaces in other areas of the home
  • Approaches to Slip Resistant Floor Surfaces in Homes
    • Installing Slip Resistant Floors
    • Modifying Existing Floors with a Slip Resistant Treatment
    • Maintaining the Slip Resistance of Floor Surfaces
  • Approaches for Slip Resistant Floors - Comparison
  • Checklist for a Slip Resistant Floor Surface
  • References
  • Appendix 1: Slip Resistance Classifications and Test Methods
    • Pendulum Classification
    • Ramp Barefoot Classification
    • Co-efficient of Friction
    • SlipAlertTM Test Value
  • Appendix 2: Methods of Improving Slip Resistance


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