Manage your risk by using the right slip ratings.
When you need to refit or design a new fitout for a commercial space – a cafe, retail shop, office kitchen, child care or
school activity room, foyer entry, stairs, footpaths: mostly any space in fact, there are very specific flooring standards
Australian Standards for Slip Resistance based on floor slip tests in a laboratory provide results to follow when
choosing flooring types within a building.
You’ll need to familiarise yourself with Australian NZ Standard number 4586 to know what slip ratings to use.
A Quick run-down to help in your research:
Why have a slip rating?
In a nutshell, it’s to provide a Safe Environment in your Commercial Workplace for all users, to avoid accidents when
water, grease, oils and so on come into contact with flooring surfaces. If you are setting up a shop or food outlet – a
cafe, restaurant or bar, for instance, a slip rating is very important.
What types of Flooring do Slip Ratings apply to?
Should I really need to be concerned about using the right ratings?
In a fitout, whether it’s new or a refurbished commercial space, you’ll be open to accidents, mishaps and natural
events like spilt food, rain coming in through a window onto the floor or clients and workers slipping over for various
reasons. Having the right rating of flooring will go a long way to ensure that you’re covered!
What are these ratings?
There are Ramp Tests and Pendulum Tests.
The Ramp test is done in two ways and is often used to rate flooring before it enters the market: with motor oil using
safety boots and water using barefeet.
Two people walk backwards and forwards on a ramp which is increasingly made steeper so that in the end, someone slips or feels they will slip. The ramp angle is then used to determine a slip resistance rating for that product, an R rating for the oil-wet ramp test and a rating of A, B or C for the wet-barefoot ramp test.
A Pendulum test is often used in legal cases where a slip and fall incident has already occurred. A pendulum arm
with a weight attached swings a rubber slider across a surface with water. The friction exerted onto the slider which
is used to replicate your shoe heel or sole as it moves across the surface, means a loss of momentum relative to the
slip resistance of the surface. The point at which the arm stops can be used to determine the rating.
What do I look for?
Look for an “R” rating of a product which means it’s been tested on a ramp. Your fitout team can help you to find out
R9 rated will be for very general use – in your office work room, school & child care classrooms, hair salon, pharmacy
R10 rated is for general food sales outlets, kitchens heating up meals, toilets & washrooms
R11 rated means restaurant kitchens serving less than 100 meals per day,
R12 is for a higher use than that – say, for restaurant kitchens serving more than 100 meals a day.
The good news:
Remember you’re managing risk so that your commercial refurbishment is up to standard. Better than dealing with
risk after the damage is done!