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February 12, 2010

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Research- Slip-resistant footwear

Employers use a variety of control measures 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.

This is according to the HSE, which recently published the results of a study of the slip resistance of emerging footwear. The study used the ‘ramp test’ developed by the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) rather than the existing European Standard, as the HSE felt that the test surfaces and contaminants used in the latter give only a limited picture of the slip-resistance properties of footwear.

This report, which also incorporates previously published work by the HSE as part of this continuing project, covers 86 pieces of footwear. Of these, about half a dozen gave a low slip risk under challenging test conditions. The study also showed that some footwear marketed as slip-resistant posed a high slip risk when tested on the HSL ramp, further demonstrating that no one product will be suitable in all situations.

Consequently, the HSE advises that a risk assessment should always be carried out when selecting footwear. It adds that publishing this type of research information greatly increases the likelihood that procurers will obtain good slip-resistant footwear on the basis of informed choices.

The full report is available to view at http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr780.htm

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