RR549 - An examination of novel roughness parameters to be used in conjunction with the HSE slips assessment tool (SAT)

Slips and trips are the most common cause of major injuries at work and they occur in all workplaces; 95% of reportable major slips result in broken bones. There are many separate factors which contribute to the slip potential of a particular workplace. These include the floor surface, footwear worn by pedestrians, contamination present, and cleaning, maintenance and management regimes.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) use two primary techniques to assess the slip resistance of floor surfaces, coefficient of friction (CoF) using the pendulum skid resistance tester, and Rz surface microroughness. Microroughness meters are available which can easily measure the Rz parameter, and historically a good correlation has been found between Rz and wet pendulum values. This information was the basis of the HSE Slips Assessment Tool (SAT), a risk assessment tool which uses Rz as an important factor in determining the slip risk presented by a floor surface.

In recent times affordable and portable microroughness instruments have become available which can easily measure a much larger range of parameters on site. The purpose of this project has been to study the relationships between discrete roughness parameters and their agreement with wet pendulum values to look for close correlations which may support Rz and pendulum values in determining the slip resistance of a surface.

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 author alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2021-04-20