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Testing for slip hazard on floorings

How testing can assess one of the flooring industry’s biggest problems – the risk of slipping.

Slippage on a flooring surface can begin in a fraction of a second, while the consequences could last for a lifetime. Broken bones and litigation under health and safety legislation are some of the possible outcomes, so reducing the risk of slip is a critical safety aspect to be considered.

A slip test machine can be used to verify the slip resistance of flooring products. Testing against industry-accepted slip resistance standards is a proven method to validate products and to demonstrate due diligence.

SATRA has over 30 years of research experience investigating slip between footwear and a wide range of flooring and naturally-occurring surfaces. Over this period, fundamental principles of slip have been identified. Slip is a complex process, and an effective slip test machine needs to control and measure a number of key criteria reproducing the critical factors relating to slip when walking. A modified version of the SATRA TM144 test method is used for hard surfaces.

How the test is conducted

A section of the flooring being tested is placed onto the floor carriage of the SATRA STM 603 machine. A standard rubber reference material (called a ‘slider’) is used to simulate footwear soling material. This is fitted in a loading frame and is normally set at a seven degree inclination relative to the flooring (as illustrated). The machine console incorporates a data acquisition computer, which gives graphical output and full numerical results. Additional information can be entered through the machine keyboard, allowing test criteria and other relevant data to be included. Once initiated, the program brings the slider into contact with the test surface and applies a pre-set vertical load before moving the floor horizontally at a controlled speed. The horizontal and vertical forces are measured during the test.

The output from the test is a determination of the coefficient of friction between the slider and the test surface. A low coefficient of friction indicates that only a low horizontal load would be needed to cause footwear to slip against the flooring type used in the test. In addition to the reported coefficient of friction result, the loads, speeds and horizontal distance covered, and a more detailed continuous calculation of coefficient of friction, are recorded graphically for the duration of the test.

The SATRA STM 603 machine has been developed with the benefit of extensive research into slip and slip testing methods, together with the experience gained from the daily practical use of the machine in the SATRA testing laboratories. The Technology Centre’s research team is continuing to investigate slip and slip testing, and can offer consultancy advice and customer-specific contract research.

How can we help?


Email for further information on SATRA’s STM 603 slip test machine. To find out more about how SATRA can work directly with customers on the safety of floorings, email or visit SATRA's slip research and testing page.