There is a duty of care upon flooring designers, installers, contractors, and on the architects who specify flooring products, to ensure that flooring surfaces are ‘fit for purpose’ and do not pose a safety risk.
One of the key components of safety is defining how slippery the floor is; this is known as its ‘slip resistance’. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 stipulate that floors must not be slippery so that they put people’s safety at risk.
The Pendulum Test is the most commonly used test to calculate the slip resistant value of a floor covering. The testing of floors and surfaces in situ can identify a significant number of factors that can influence the skid slip performance of flooring materials. For example, cleaning regimes, maintenance, integrity of substrate, wearing or weathering of the flooring surface, presence of any sealants on the surface of the floor and trafficking pattern can all affect significantly the performance of flooring materials.
With natural stone, the slip resistant figure will generally have to be tested on the material at the time of purchase due to the fact that the product is natural and significant variation of hardness and surface finish can give different results from batch to batch and therefore give different slip results.