Reprotec UK - Epoxy Floor Paint - Coatings for Industry Sales Number: 0191 300 9989

How to choose an Anti Slip floor

 

1. INTRODUCTION
Correctly specified and applied synthetic resin flooring is well proven as an effective method of protecting substrates
and providing excellent levels of slip resistance in wet, dry and contaminated conditions, especially within high risk areas such as  food and drink processing, commercial catering and heavy industrial environments.
Pre-planning at the design stage to evaluate the environment and the use of the floor is critical.  The following 
criteria should be examined before proceeding with the design of the floor, to ensure the causes of slips are 
minimised.
• Operating environment (type, concentration and frequency of likely spillage / contaminant)
• Surface regularity (i.e. does the floor ‘free drain’ or does standing water accumulate ?)
• Insitu drainage and / or new drainage requirements
• Regular cleaning procedures
• Safety footwear
While processes designed to avoid spillage / contamination is one essential part of any slip risk management
approach, it is inevitable that occasions will arise when slippery conditions will occur and reliance will be placed on
the floor finish to minimise risk.  As such, it is essential that floors are designed to handle the extremes of operating
conditions to minimise risk and fully meet duty of care responsibilities.
This guidance note will explain the main methods for measuring the level of slip resistance offered by a resin floor
finish in line with the main methods recognised in the UK.  It will then briefly cover other factors that help manage
and minimise the overall risk of a slip related incident. 

2. MEASURING THE LEVEL OF SLIP RESISTANCE PROVIDED BY RESIN FLOORING

As with any basic measure of performance, regardless of industry, most countries will have their own opinions and
approved standards / methods by which performance should be assessed.  Across Europe, there are a number of
test methods that architects and specifiers refer to, but there are only 2 that are formally recognised in the UK within
official standards that relate to flooring.

2.1  UK FORMALLY RECOGNISED METHODS FOR MEASURING SLIP RESISTANCE

The most widely recognised scientific approach for the assessment of whether a floor offers an acceptable level of
slip resistance is measurement of the dynamic co-efficient of friction. This assessment is normally carried out using swinging ‘pendulum’ equipment, which whilst of US origin, was further developed by the Transport & Road Research Laboratory (TRRL) for assessing both the skid resistance of road surfaces, and the slip resistance of pedestrian areas.  This method has since been adopted by BSI for the British Standards in the BS 8204 series dealing with in-situ floorings (BS8204-6 relates to Synthetic Resin Flooring in particular). The construction and use of the Pendulum is specified in BS 7976.  This equipment is used widely both in the UK and overseas because it is portable and can be used to determine the slip resistance of even small areas in situ.  It is the standard reference method adopted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Laboratories, Sheffield.
However, whilst the TRL pendulum is portable, it is relatively difficult and time consuming to use (and requires specialist training), which has resulted in the development of a quick and easy to use device known as SlipAlert.    SlipAlert, also adopted by BS 8204, was designed to reproduce the characteristics of the lubricating film which is uniquely generated by both the TRL Pendulum and a slipping pedestrian under their heel.  As a result it correlates well with Pendulum test results and has opened up the testing of floors to those who would previously never have considered such a test due to the complexities of using the Pendulum Tester. As such, SlipAlert is increasingly being used by  contractors, factory managers, Health and Safety managers and many specifiers and consultants to measure slip resistance.

3.  ACCEPTABLE LEVELS OF SLIP RESISTANCE

The BS 8204 series of standards for in situ floorings (including BS 8204-6: Synthetic Resin Floorings), specify that
any flooring should give a Pendulum Test Value (PTV) of not less than 40 when tested wet or dry (130 on the SlipAlert) as appropriate for the anticipated service conditions, including any likely surface contamination. 
There is a rider that ‘in particularly wet areas, the client should be advised of the benefits of the use of special footwear with slip resistant soles, which can allow a smoother floor finish to be adopted.  In such situations a PTV of not less than 33 may be acceptable.(145 on the SlipAlert)

4. MANAGING THE LEVEL OF SLIP RESISTANCE PROVIDED BY RESIN FLOORING

As stated in the introduction, the design and correct installation of a resin floor is an essential part of the risk
management process.  However, even the best of floors will not deliver the desired level of performance if daily
business operations are not tailored to help minimise risk.

4.1 REGULAR CLEANING PROCEDURES

The recommended method for managing slip resistance is to ensure that a regular and effective cleaning regime is
implemented that complies with the resin flooring manufacturer’s recommendations.  If the incorrect cleaning regime is used, a build up of contaminants may quickly form, which could reduce the level of slip resistance available to an unacceptable level.
The most effective cleaning method will normally require the use of mechanical floor cleaning machines in conjunction with cleaning chemicals approved by the resin flooring manufacturer. It is essential that the cleaning chemical supplier is made fully aware of the types of contaminant that are likely to come into contact with the floor to ensure that the most effective product is specified. There are a number of Cleaning specialists that can help e.g. Columbus Cleaning Limited.
The frequency of cleaning should be tailored to ensure that acceptable levels of slip resistance are available at all times.  Regular monitoring of the slip resistance will provide an assurance of effective cleaning.

4.2 THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTAMINANT VISCOSITY

Floors can become contaminated  by a wide variety of elements, such as water, fats, oils or a combination of these.
The only way to determine if the floor is likely to be safe in the presence of such contaminants or combinations of
such contaminants is to test it with the Pendulum or SlipAlert in those conditions. Therefore, should the types of
contaminant change, it is essential to re-assess the floor to ensure that it can continue to offer acceptable levels of
slip resistance.  Accordingly, when designing a floor or re-assessing a floor, it is paramount that the client confirms
exactly which contaminants are likely to be present to enable a full assessment to be conducted.

4.3 SURFACE REGULARITY

The surface regularity and degree of fall of any floor finish will largely determine the tendency for water and other
contaminants to ‘pond’ (sit in puddles).  Ponding can result in higher than anticipated contaminant film thicknesses
which can have an adverse effect on the levels of slip resistance achievable.
Due to their method of application, synthetic resin floorings will inevitably follow the profile of the underlying
substrate. The degree of regularity required to minimise ponding should therefore be defined in advance both on new-build or refurbishment projects.
The straight edge method given in BS8204-1 is generally satisfactory for the majority of floor uses and the design
should specify an appropriate class of local surface regularity.

SR2 which can allow up to a 5mm deviation over a 2 metre straight edge is more than acceptable for most industrial Situations.
Where free draining floors are required in wet environments, a minimum fall of 1 in 80 should be specified. However, a textured surface may require a higher fall to allow contaminants to drain naturally.

4.4 FOOTWEAR

In certain industrial situations where floor contamination is unavoidable and there is a requirement for a less 
heavily textured flooring solution or the existing flooring is offering slip resistance of less than 40, 
specialist footwear can be employed to help achieve an acceptable solution.  It must however be recognised that:
a. Only a few ‘safety’ shoes/boots offer true enhanced slip resistance in wet conditions
b. Not all enhanced footwear will be effective in any specific situation
c.  Such footwear needs to be worn by all those who walk across the floor
d. The footwear needs to be regularly monitored by a member of staff formally trained to assess when
safety may be compromised.
e. Footwear is worn to a point at which effectiveness has declined to an unacceptable level.

5 CONCLUSION

Epoxy Resin finishes with anti slip properties have been proven over time to be "fit for purpose" they are not,
however, self cleaning. Regular maintenance should therefore be part of the plan. The correct profile of anti slip 
is also important both for the comfort of the user and its ability to perform under the required conditions.
Most Epoxy resins will be resistant to hot water washing, which is widely used in Industry. However, if your
process requires genuine "Steam Cleaning" then you should be looking at a minimum thickness of 9mm for the resin finish.
This is usually a polyurethane resin and should be applied by specialist contractors.

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Written by Robert McGuinness — October 02, 2012

Floor Preparation

Preparation is the key.............

A D.I.Y. job doesn't have to be a poor relation to a professional project, usually the part that the pro's concentrate on is skimped on by the layman, the main reason for this is not being aware of what tools are out there that can help with this task. The main emphasis should be on achieving a clean, dry floor (although we have some damp tolerant products), that is free from grease, oil and loose impediments. The best way to achieve that is by mechanical means, if you are over coating existing painted floors, then the main emphasis is removing grease and oil etc, this is best achieved by using a floor scrubber drier with the correct detergent/degreaser, followed by mechanical abrasion to give a key for the new coating, this is best achieved with an STR type grinder with the appropriate pads.

Old uncoated concrete is relatively easy to prepare with a variety of grinding and planing machines on the market, diamond grinding usually being the best and quickest option.

New concrete can provide a few challenges, first of all how long has it been down? Concrete takes a while to release the moisture from the slab and a number of factors, not least the water/cement ratio, affect this, however, without wishing to get too technical an accepted "rule of thumb" time for a slab to dry out would be in the region of 4 weeks for every 25mm thickness, i.e. A 100mm thick ground floor slab drying from one side would take 4 months to dry out, which could be a problem on some projects and products like Reprotec Dampstop have been formulated to help reduce those times significantly.

Again mechanical means of preparation is the best and we do not recommend that you use Acid etching as a means of preparation, this has not been used by the majority of the trade contractors for thirty years. It is messy, dangerous and ineffective.

It actually states in the British Standard BS8204-6, "surface preparation by acid etching of the concrete should not be used because of the associated health and safety implications and because the concrete surface is left saturated with water and calcareous salts which may ultimately lead to debonding or osmotic blistering of the resin flooring system."

There are various ways of preparing a floor here are some examples:

Vacuum Shotblasting
The method of Vacuum shotblasting involves steel abrasive (shot) being propelled at high velocity by a rotating wheel within the machine body, and then onto the designated surface to produce the desired profile. The debris is collected in a vacuum unit for disposal, and the shot is recycled for continued use. You would select vacuum shotblasting to:
  • Produce a profile for the application of resin flooring.
  • Remove paints and sealants.
  • Create adhesion for the application of a wide range of surface finishes.
  • Prepare steel (Commercial and Swedish Standard SA2 ½). prior to painting
  • Remove laitance from concrete floors prior to coating.
The type and size of the machine selected will determine production rates achievable and degree of profiling required for the specified material to be applied.
Concrete is a well used term and understood by everybody, unfortunately the term "Concrete" covers a multitude of mix designs for a whole host of different real world situations. A concrete floor should be at least 25N/mm2  if a Vacuum Shotblast is to be used, if not the process can remove an excessive amount of substrate leaving a surface that will need remedial work prior to painting. In fact most Vacuum Shotblasting will leave "tram lines" in the substrate that are likely to be visible in the finish after painting, these will be highlighted further in gloss finishes.
These can be avoided by either 
1. Grinding after the Vacuum Shotblasting to remove the lines.
2. Apply a system thick enough to cover the profile, this is normally achieved by an initial "scratch coat" primer which is a primer like Reprotec Supaseal mixed with around 45 - 55 % dried sand (e.g. Kiln Dried Block sand) scratched across the floor using a floor trowel. This is then usually fully blinded with the same sand and swept of when cured, usually the day after, this gives a fantastic key for the following coats.
Vacuum Shotblasting is a specialist operation and should be carried out by competent specialists.
For the factory manager looking to utilise his own staff the following method is relatively simple to carry out by the non specialist and is highly effective.

Grinding

 

The grinding process is provided by diamond, tungsten or resin bonded discs or plates which are secured to single or multiple heads and rotate in a circular motion. Selection of the correct diamond or resin bonded plate is essential to achieve the correct combination for smoothing, preparing, polishing or cleaning.  Grinding machines are designed for wet or dry operation and to tackle a wide variety of applications from fast grinding on uneven or tough surfaces to producing highly polished finishes, such as resin terrazzos. The type and size of the machine selected will determine
achievable production rates in terms of area, speed and  the degree of profiling required for the specified material to be applied.  All grinding machines should be designed to be used with dust extraction.
Grinding Accessories: 
  • Metal bonded discs/plates for general grinding operations.
  • Resin bonded diamond accessories for polishing operations.
  • Polycrystalline Diamond discs (PCD) for removal of adhesives and elastomeric systems

There are a  number of outlets that will provide the equipment and advice on how to use it. HSS Hire are one such provider that operate nationally.

click on the information below to go to their website.

 

 

 

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Reprotec UK - Industrial Flooring, Floor paint - Floor Repair & Maintenance - Concrete Repair - Anti Slip Paints

Written by Robert McGuinness — September 21, 2012

.......0191 300 9989..... ....Technical Help Line....

We manufacture high quality epoxy floor and wall paints, concrete repair materials and anti slip products. All Prices shown are excluding VAT. This will be added at checkout after any discounts......contact us at.... sales@reprotecuk.co.uk

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