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SLIP RESISTANT FOOTWEAR

Research provides information on slip resistance of footwear

A variety of control measures are used to reduce the risk of slips, but if a significant slip risk remains, introducing footwear with slip-resistant properties may be the only effective way they can further reduce the risk.

HSE has commissioned a study to generate information on the slip resistance of emerging footwear using a test developed by the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL)

The HSL ramp test used for the research

There is a European Standard test for footwear slip resistance, but the test surfaces and contaminants used in the standard only give a limited picture of the slip resistance properties of footwear. Additional information is provided by the HSL ramp test to help employers to identify the best slip-resistant shoes for a particular environment.

This project is a continuation of previously published work by HSE. When significant new safety, protective or occupational footwear is marketed as slip resistant or becomes widely used in the work place, HSL procures and tests it in order to assess its slip potential.

Publishing the information will aid informed choice of footwear

This combined report now includes 86 pieces of footwear – 30 further pairs were tested in this 2009 study. Of these, about half a dozen gave a low slip risk under challenging test conditions – HSE believes that publishing this information greatly increases the likelihood that procurers will obtain good slip-resistant footwear on the basis of informed choices.

The study also showed that some footwear marketed as slip resistant gave a high slip risk when tested on the HSL ramp, further demonstrating that no one product will be suitable in all situations – a risk assessment should always be carried out when selecting footwear.

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