commercial safety flooring guidelines

The most important feature of flooring is that it is safe to navigate across – slip and obstruction free, with no splits, gaps or holes. To ensure that your commercial flooring is delivering the best performance possible, it needs to comply with the Government’s Health and Safety Legislation.

Each floor choice should be tailored specifically to its purpose in the workplace. For example, if it is likely that a floor is going to experience frequent water spillage or contamination, this needs to be taken into account when considering the level of slip resistance required for your flooring.

How is slip resistance measured?

(Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence)

The most common cause of accidents in the workplace are slips and trips, causing approximately a third of all major injuries. Therefore, identifying the correct level of slip resistance necessary for your floor is extremely important.

Floor slippiness is assessed in two ways: the pendulum test and the surface microroughness test for contaminated areas. This means there are two values your flooring needs to adhere to, to be considered safe. Both of these methods must be carried out by a professional to ensure the most accurate results.

The pendulum test: Based on a rubber heel swinging in a pendulum action, coming into contact perpendicular with the floor. The slippiness of the flooring affects the motion of the pendulum across the floor.

Slip Potential Classification – based on pendulum test values

Pendulum Test Values/Slip Potential


The microroughness test: Calculated using a surface microroughness metre, this test is used primarily to show slipperiness in water contaminated conditions, but can also be used to identify wear and change in surface quality of a floor over a period of time.

Slip Potential Classification – based on Rz microroughness values

Rz Surface Roughness/Slip Potential

<10 µm/High
10-20 µm/Moderate
20+ µm/Low

Rz = total surface roughness

There are a range of other slip-measurements available, such as: roughness metres; the slip assessment tool; HSL ramp test; sled tests and trolley tests – however the two detailed above are the most widely-used methods, developed by HSE to ensure they meet Health and Safety legislation.

Some things to consider when assessing slip hazards in different areas of your workplace:

• Entrance/Exits – Water entering the building due to rain/wet conditions outside.
o Consider a higher level of slip resistance of flooring in areas surrounding the doorway.
o Ensure flooring is high durability to ensure slip resistant properties are not lost through mopping/cleaning of contaminants.
• Entrance/Exits – Trip hazards such as mats with curled up edges.
o Replace mats with absorbent flooring to soak up excess water. This will avoid frequent and expensive replacement of mats.
• Corridors/Offices – Change in flooring type or slope, presenting trip hazard.
o Highlight hazard through use of different style/colour of flooring to draw attention.
• Corridors/Offices – Damaged flooring such as worn non-slip coating; holes or curling at the edges.
o Invest in a high durability flooring built to withstand heavy traffic areas.
• Corridors/Offices – Glare created through light shining off smooth floor surfaces.
o Remove floor surface shine.
o Choose flooring with matt surfacing, or consider a change of material to better suit the environment.
• Stairs – Slippery stair treads, increasing risk of slips and falls.
o Replace stair covering with a higher level of slip resistance.
o Ensure the material is easy to clean and contaminants are absorbed or cleaned on a regular basis.
o Install high durability flooring to withstand constant use/cleaning procedures.
• Kitchens/Bathrooms – Water or contaminants spilt on floor through frequent use of sinks and/or cooking materials.
o Prevent further spread of contaminants by confirming there is no slope to the floor.
o Install absorbent or highly slip resistant flooring.

All of our commercial safety floors are fully HSE compliant, with full specifications detailed with results from slippiness tests, so you can identify the perfect flooring solution for your workplace.

FineLine Flooring has an extensive range of flooring materials, specialising in slip resistance and safety. These are equipped for any area of your workplace, to guarantee the lowest risk of accidents. Our five suppliers of commercial safety flooring are top of the range, with years of experience and rigorous testing to enable us to provide the best flooring options for you.

Health and Safety Executive, (2012). Assessing the Slip Resistance of Flooring. Crown Copyright.
Health and Safety Executive, (2013). Slips and Trips: Hazard Spotting Checklist. Crown Copyright.