Slips and falls lead to thousands of injuries in Australia every year, with flooring surfaces playing a major part amongst many of these incidents. Assessing the risks and choosing flooring products that are slip-resistant and suitable for each application is therefore paramount for the designer as it ensures the safety of users and a reduction in risk level and the likelihood of litigation.
Many of those whom suffer from slips and falls are the elderly as many have trouble with balance making them more susceptible to risk and injury. Due to Australia’s aging population, this safety issue is only expected to grow. In aged care environments, carers have a duty of care to those people who reside and use the facilities, and thus flooring and surfaces are a major factor that must be considered when designing and building such environments. When it comes to choosing products to be part of a hospital facility or an aged care facility, the right products are going to ensure a better, safer and cleaner environment for all who utilise the facility.
To assist in the prevention of slips and falls, slip resistant coatings and treatments can be applied to existing floorings or when new flooring is installed, products that are slip resistant and meet the current Australian Standards can be preferenced. Individual applications and projects should each undertake a risk assessment depending on the desired use of the building/ facility. Designers who have knowledge about the causes and consequences of slips and falls are more likely to be able to asses and act on the risks present.
The two main standards for flooring and surfaces to adhere to are: AS4663 Slip resistance measurement of existing pedestrian surfaces and AS4586 Slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surface materials.
Here are 10 slip resistant flooring products designed to prevent trips and falls:
Accolade Safe Plus offers supreme safety, without the impregnated silicon chips of conventional non-slip flooring that attract and hold dirt, minimising maintenance and wear and tear on cleaning equipment. They can be coved up walls and are from inert materials that do not harbour bacteria.
Dura Grip is designed to increase the slip-resistance of pre-existing floorings and surfaces. Providing protection for the surface, the life of the flooring is extended and a safe pedestrian environment is maintained. Dura Grip provides long lasting anti-slip protection to many flooring surfaces including Vinyl, Timber, Linoleum, Rubber and Epoxy. Increasing both safety and hygiene, Dura Grip works to ensure that flooring surfaces are safe and durable for everyday usage.
Altro Safety Flooring is a slip-resistant flooring product that maintains its slip-resistance even when wet and for the life of the product. Providing outstanding durability and sustained slip-resistance, it’s the ideal choice for heavy duty areas where safety and extra protection is required. The product comes in 3 different styles including contemporary, industrial or decorative designs. Altro Safety flooring is easy to maintain and clean and is backed by a 20 year product guarantee.
Tread Rite Slip Resistant Coatings by Dy-Mark
The solution to slippery and low traction surfaces, TreadRite Slip Resistant Coatings. TreadRite provides a high traction texture that transforms floors into safe and slip resistant surfaces. Suitable for both interior and exterior applications across a variety of surfaces from untreated timber through to pebble finishes. TreadRite complies with the Australian Standard AS/NZS 4586:2004.
Polysafe Verona from Polyflor
Polysafe Verona is a stylish and innovative safety flooring product with a sustainable wet slip resistance. Manufactured as safety flooring, the quartz-chip infused floor work to improve both traction and safety underfoot. Polyflor guarantee wet-slip resistance for the life of the product. 100% recyclable and SilverTag certified, Polysafe Verona is a reliable flooring product.
Wood Composite DIY Deck Tiles by Futurewood
Futurewood Deck tiles are strong and offer many qualities including slip-resistance and fully furnished ready to be installed. As well as easy to install deck tiles, Futurewood also offer deck tile edges to create a smooth ramp to create an ease of use and avoid creating tripping hazards. The Deck tiles won’t rot nor produce splinters, keeping bare feet safe and injury free. As well as looking stylish, the Deck tiles are made from a solid wood composite so creating an attractive and safe decking floor is easy.
Tactile Ground Surface Indicators and Stair Nosings by Birrus Matting Systems
Ideal for those with vision impairments and those who have trouble with balance, Tactile Ground Surface Indicators can make flooring surfaces safer and easier for walking across. With a non-slip surface and a durable/ wear resistance guarantee, these Surface Indicators have been rigorously tested to ensure their slip-resistance.
Novaproducts Global have a range of flooring options including the Assurance Anti-Slip Safety Vinyl flooring. This flooring system is resilient and features anti-slip properties in both wet and dry areas. The vinyl makes it an ideal flooring material health and aged care facilities as it is durable and hardwearing.
The Neoflex Rubber Flooring system from Rephouse Australia is a durable environmentally friendly, homogenous EPDM/recycled flooring product. Neoflex recycled rubber flooring is designed for high traffic areas such as offices, public building and retail sectors.
Interlocking Lagune No. 090 Wet Area Anti-Fatigue Matting from General Mat Company
General Mat Company offer a unique interlocking mat that is ideal for use in bathrooms, change rooms and showers. The mat provides an easy water drain, allowing water to pass through the mat whilst remaining slip resistant and relatively dry for a safe flooring surface. The mats have a high temperature resistance ranging from -20ºC - +70ºC, as well as an anti-microbial additive for reliable protection from mould and fungal growth.
An innovative under-floor surface, Elsi® Smart Floor is a system proven to reduce falls as well as contribute to the security and wellbeing of those who use it. The system is devised of touchpads, including capacitive sensors and conductance sensors that send alarms and notifications to staff workers to alert them to a fallen patient as well as tracking their movements and motions.