In 2008, Monash University Accident Research Centre undertook a study of the occurrence of slips, trips and falls, and their relationship to the design and construction of buildings. Commissioned by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), results showed that one of the major building and design components identified as being associated with fall injuries were low friction or wet floor surfaces.
The bulk of these victims were the elderly, a group commonly recognised to have problems with balance and therefore are more susceptible to such incidents, with a greater risk of serious injuries.
Having safe, slip resistant floors is therefore essential when architects and designers create or add to a space. Already a common feature of industrial, commercial and public projects, non-slip flooring treatments and products work predominantly to prevent falls and ensure safety. In turn, this leads to cost and compliance benefits (reducing the likelihood of litigation and meeting OH&S standards; not having to increase insurance premiums).
However, this imperative is not limited to areas of ‘high risk’ like commercial kitchens or places such as aged care facilities. With an increasing focus being placed on livable, adaptable and even multi-generational homes, slip resistant flooring has also become an important part of residences.
Preventing falls and slips can be done by either applying a slip resistant coating or treatment to the existing flooring material, or as in many projects today, by specifying products that have non-slip properties. Differences between these anti-slip products deal with a variety of factors such as cost and style, but also durability, hygiene and maintenance requirements.
The following is a list of five slip-resistant flooring products available in Australia:
Altro – Aquarius Safety Flooring
Altro Aquarius is a 2mm safety floor suitable for both wet and dry environments, whether shoes are worn or not. It incorporates the Altro Easyclean Maxis PUR technology, which allows the floor to be cleaned with an ordinary domestic cleaner, allowing for savings in cleaning and maintenance. The product contains an integral Biocide that prevents the growth of MRSA or similar organisms.
Novaproducts Global – Assurance Flooring
Assurance is a slip retardant sheet that comes in a wide range of colours. It features QuantumGuard HP, a patented high performance wear layer with urethane aluminium oxide topcoat cured by a UV process. The product’s embossed texture provides drainage underfoot, which enhances its slip resistance properties. It is furthermore manufactured to be stain, scuff and soil resistant due to the lack of abrasive particles.
Charles Parsons - Kradal Floor Tiles
Essentially a fall injury prevention flooring solution with non-slip properties, Kradal Floor Tiles are formulated using patented polyurethane technology and made up of thousands of micro-spheres that optimise the cushioning impact and provide a resilient floor surface for high traffic areas. HealthGuard antimicrobial treatment protects the floor surfaces against the development of yeasts, moulds, algae and bacteria.
Fibonacci Stone – Terrazzo Tiles
Suitable for interior applications, Terrazzo Tiles from Fibonacci Stone has recently been announced as one of the safest classifications in a new slip resistance handbook available from Standards Australia. The products in this range have a honed finish, and achieve up to a P4 classification in accordance with AS 4586. They pass the anti-slip Oil Ramp Test, Dry Friction Test, and Wet Pendulum Test. Terrazzo tiles are also dust and dirt resistant, and when fully sealed, are safeguarded against spills and stains.
Armstrong Australia – Accolade Safe
Accolade Safe Plus is a new slip resistant vinyl flooring developed to meet the demand for an easier to maintain slip-retardant floor covering. It comes without impregnated silicon carbide chips that can attract and hold dirt, and increase the maintenance effort and wear and tear on cleaning equipment. The product’s embossed surface reduces aquaplaning while helping to hide subfloor imperfections.