Slippery Surfaces Safeguards to Control Slips (Trips and Falls)

People generally slip on wet surfaces or wet shoes, not clean dry surfaces.

Slip resistance tests and pedestrian surface treatments are available from private companies in Ireland.


Identify Slippery Surfaces


Operational Controls to Reduce Slips

Operational controls to improve slip resistance could include the following items listed in no particular order.

Part E Fall Risk Marking option 1 

  • Signs should only be used where hazards cannot be avoided or adequately reduced

Structural Changes to Improve Slip Resistance

Slip resistance tests and pedestrian surface treatments are available from private companies in Ireland.

Regulation 9 of the General Application Regulations says that floors should, so far as is reasonably practicable, be not slippery. People generally slip on wet surfaces or wet shoes, not clean dry surfaces.

Slippery surfaces

Structural controls to improve slip resistance could include the following items listed in no particular order.

  • Repeat risk assessment using the Mapping tool
  • Resurface the floor with a material that provides a low slip risk
    • Treat the floor surface with an abrasive technique to improve slip resistance
    • Treat surface of floor with anti-slip floor coating to give it a low slip risk
    • Acid etch the floor surface (ensuring proper safeguards handling chemicals)
    • Use anti-slip strips/ patches where appropriate. These need to be monitored and replaced when worn
    • Apply anti-slip film to glass floors
  • Provide drainage, especially for areas where water may pool
    • Replace floor with a drain and grille, e.g. at urinals, washing stations
  • Provide a covered walkway to keep surface rain off
  • Reduce gradient and provide a handrail on slopes

Slippery Surface Case Studies

HSL advise about an abattoir that reduced slips costs from £207,800 to £136,000 over three years by “clear” floor specifications, “matched” footwear, monitoring and removal of chequer plate.

The HSE UK provides useful advice on improving slip resistance on their website. The advice on acid-etching (and hydrofluoric acid) is important. HSE UK has a wide range of case studies including

  • Housekeeping and cleaning regimes
  • Effective matting systems
  • Design of workplace and work activities
  • Maintenance of plant and the work environment
  • Effective training and supervision
  • Working together to solve the problem

The Napo animated video "Shining example" (1 minute, 8 seconds) shows the problem with choosing a floor surface based solely on how it looks