Explained: The ‘safety’ of AKW Safety Flooring
We know that specifying for users with different needs can be challenging, and it can be hard to find safety flooring that ticks all the right boxes.
AKW Safety Flooring has been designed especially for the adaptations market, and combines a high level of slip resistance with a non-abrasive, easy to clean surface that is kind to skin of all types.
Scroll down to find out how the slip resistance of AKW Safety Flooring has been tested, what the results actually mean, and why not all classifications are as relevant as others.
Pendulum Test Value (PTV)
The TRRL pendulum test is the subject of British Standard BS 7976, and swings an imitation heel over a set area of flooring in a controlled manner. The resistance is then measured and a classification awarded.
High slip potential: 0-24
Moderate slip potential: 25-35
Low slip potential: 36+
AKW Safety Flooring scored >36, the highest level attainable.
The PTV is considered by HSE as the most important slip-resistance rating, because the test measures resistance when a ‘heel’ strikes a surface, an action typically associated with slips and falls.
Other tests may use human subjects who are fully aware of the risk of falling – a user about to slip would not anticipate this happening, therefore this test is deemed more representative of a product’s slip resistance.
European flooring manufacturers commonly use ramp-style tests to classify the slipperiness of their products. These tests are often carried out using German National Standard test methods – DIN 51097 and DIN 51130 – which test the flooring’s slip resistance when contaminated in different conditions.
AKW Safety Flooring was tested against both standards; the results are as follows…
DIN 51097 – Class C
DIN 51097 testing involves barefoot operators with a soap solution used as the contaminant. The angle (in degs) at which the flooring becomes slippery is then measured and a class award.
A: 12-17 B: 18-23 C: >24
AKW Safety Flooring achieved Class C, again, the highest level attainable.
This test is the most relevant when specifying for the adaptations market as our product is intended for use in wet floor showering areas and bathrooms – spaces that will be contaminated with soapy water and therefore need to be safe for barefoot users, especially those with limited mobility and/or health conditions.
DIN 51130 – R10
DIN 51130 testing differs significantly and uses heavily-cleated EN:ISO 20345 safety boots with motor oil as the contaminant. The angle (in degs) is then measured and a class awarded.
AKW Safety Flooring achieved a rating of R10 when tested in these conditions.
This test is completely irrelevant when specifying for the adaptations market as our product is NOT intended for use in spaces that will likely be contaminated with motor oil or installed in areas where users will be required to wear safety boots.
To achieve a higher rating in this particular test, our safety flooring would need to feature a more abrasive surface – this would make it harder to clean, offer greater opportunity for bacteria to thrive, and be more uncomfortable for those with delicate or sensitive skin.
Debunking the R11/R12 myth…
AKW Safety Flooring has been designed for use specifically in the adaptations market and when tested for barefoot slip resistance in wet and soapy conditions, achieved the highest classification – Class C (DIN 51097). It also received a Pendulum Test Value of >36, again the highest score available.
However, there is a misconception that the R rating is more important when testing for slip resistance, therefore it has been incorrectly used as benchmark for many years and has often led to over-specification.
When specifying flooring for installation in an industrial or commercial space, yes, a high R rating should be a priority to ensure the safety of workers.
When specifying flooring for an adapted bathroom, the R rating should be disregarded, as users would not find themselves in the conditions the flooring was tested in to determine its classification.
Instead, the DIN 51097 standard should be prioritised, as this more accurately represents the conditions those users will face.