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RR471 - A literature review of the effects of environment microclimatic conditions on the slip potential for flooring

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a wide range of publications concerning the risk of slips and trips along with practical measures that can be taken to minimise the risk. These publications have recently been supplemented by the CIRIA publication C652: Safer surfaces to walk on - reducing the risk of slipping. This publication provides comprehensive guidance concerning building elements, flooring types and characteristics, contamination, cleaning, footwear and human factors. Environmental factors, and in particular, the slip potential resulting from condensation, are touched on with no detailed guidance provided. This is also the case for the current HSE publications.

In response to this the HSE require research to be performed concerning the effects of microclimate conditions on the risk of slipping and tripping, an investigation of which building services solutions are the most effective at reducing the risk, along with the preparation of guidance and training/educational material for those managing existing buildings and constructing new buildings. As a first phase to this work the HSE require details of what information is available concerning the impact of microclimatic conditions on the slip potential for flooring.

The work detailed in this report comprised a literature/information review considering the following environmental parameters: internal air temperature, surface temperature, relative humidity, ventilation and air movement. Other environmental factors that can impact on the risk of slips and trips such as lighting and noise are also considered although in less detail.

The review provides information on how building services impact on the above environmental parameters and what considerations/strategies are applicable in order to minimise slip potential.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-03-19