According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, slips and falls make up a significant number of general industry accidents, second only to overexertion. They account for 15% of all accidental deaths as a cause of fatalities. In 2018, there were 5,250 total fatalities in all sectors; 791 of them were from slips, trips, and falls.
In order to prevent slip-and-fall injuries in your facility or vehicle or on your rig, vessel, or property, you need long-lasting anti-slip products that keep people safe. Slip-and-fall injuries are preventable with the right customized solutions, but how do you know which products are right for your unique slip-prevention challenges?
There are many anti-slip products out there, but not all of them are engineered for your exact application. This means using these products often results in increased maintenance, unsightly aesthetics, and daily hassles (or worse, injuries and lawsuits) — all of which make you feel overwhelmed and frustrated.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how to identify high-quality anti-slip products from the rest so that you can keep people safe while visually complementing your property.
Coefficient of Friction (COF)
Coefficient of friction is the measure of a product’s ability to provide safe traction and thereby prevent slips and falls.
Equal to or greater than .60 = excellent friction
Equal to or greater than .50 = adequate
Equal to or less than .40 = caution necessary
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that the static COF be at least 0.5 for all walkway surfaces under both wet and dry conditions. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends the dry static COF of 0.6 on any flat or horizontal surfaces both wet and dry, but 0.8 for any inclined or ramp areas.
Safeguard Technology incorporates fused alumina into its Hi-Traction® anti-slip products — a hard, sharp-edged aggregate that measures 9.0 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale. Comparatively, most tapes, coatings, and low-end imported covers contain quartz or silica (i.e., sand). These rank only 6 to 7 on the Moh’s scale, indicating a soft aggregate that will quickly wear away under foot traffic, leaving your surface more hazardous than ever.
Why Fused Alumina?
Fused alumina is one of the hardest substances, and when incorporated into Safeguard’s Hi-Traction® anti-slip products, it creates hard, sharp edges that grip footwear, preventing slips even in adverse conditions. Safeguard’s fused alumina aggregate creates a superior coefficient of friction, nearly double OSHA and ADA standards, not only when flat but also at an incline, and even when wet, oily, or dusty.
Durable Materials Reduce Hazard Risks
High-quality anti-slip products use more durable base materials, including Pultruded fiberglass (FRP) and steel, both of which provide an acceptable level of fire resistance. However, once these products are installed, the proprietary surface is what you are exposed to and that system is critical. Safeguard has gone to great lengths to alter its anti-slip system formula to meet the strictest fire retardancy standards in the world for a variety of industries. Typically, when quality is sacrificed for a lower price point, fire resistance and fire retardancy are compromised. When purchasing anti-slip products, ensure you’re seeing documents that feature test results on smoke emissions and flame spread.
Steel should be selected for specific applications. For example:
- A food processor may require stainless steel covers.
- The customer may choose to install by tack welding.
- The leading edge of a concrete step is chipped or broken away so that the front of the cover is unsupported.
- Steel is recommended over serrated gratings due to raised areas creating unsupported gaps for covers and over GRIP STRUT® due to the unsupported leading edge.
In the majority of cases, however, pultruded FRP (fiberglass) is ideal:
- Lighter and easier to drill
- Corrosion-resistant and USDA accepted
Safety Colors and Markings
High-quality anti-slip products should come in a variety of safety colors, standard colors, and premium colors to meet all of your preferences and requirements. The right colors can add an extra degree of safety or simply enhance your decor.
Safeguard’s anti-slip products are available in a variety of colors to meet the needs of safety-minded customers. In addition to standard and safety colors, Safeguard also offers a line of premium colors. Based upon popular trends and in subtle color hues, the premium line is well within the aesthetic requirements for anti-slip safety at schools, commercial buildings, hotels, restaurants, and residential homes.
Safeguard HiGlo-Traction® covers for steps, ladders, and walkways are proven to be visible for hours after the light source is removed. These products incorporate a photoluminescent pigment directly into the epoxy resin system to provide glow-in-the-dark luminescence.
Unlike paints, the pigment will not wear off and will last for the life of the cover. A light source is required to charge the product. However, once the lights go out, the covers emit a photoluminescent glow for several hours, providing an excellent anti-slip pathway to safety. The pigment is non-toxic, non-radioactive, and can be recharged repeatedly.
By incorporating the photoluminescent option into your anti-slip products, you can achieve an extra measure of safety after dark or during power outages.
Safety Symbols, Descriptive Messaging and Logos
High-quality anti-slip products are available with embedded safety messages and logos that can fortify your safety program and reinforce your brand.
Messages, personal protective equipment (PPE) symbols, and corporate logos are directly embedded and sealed into the grit surface to ensure the message lasts for the life of the cover. Combine the message with photoluminescent glow-in-the-dark to provide critical direction when the lights go out.
Customized Anti-Slip Solutions and Installation Services
Safeguard specializes in manufacturing customizable anti-slip products that are built to last longer in the toughest environments on Earth, including oil and gas, maritime, and food and beverage processing. We understand your safety concerns and know how important it is to have the right anti-slip solution for the job, which is why we engineer our products to perform reliably and back them all with five-year warranties.
Our products — which include anti-slip covers for industrial and commercial steps, anti-slip walkway and ramp covers for elevated and ground level walkways and flat areas, and ladder rung covers for round and square rung vertical ladders — reliably eliminate downtime caused by injuries and give you the peace of mind you need to focus on other aspects of your business.
Over the years, inferior products have appeared on the market that may seem to be the same but are actually more costly in the long run. When buying foreign-made material, you will most likely have to modify it to meet your needs by cutting it to size and drilling installation holes, which is quite difficult to do.
If you want the manufacturer to alter it for your needs, you will find it to be very expensive. Safeguard’s anti-slip covers are made to size, with predrilled holes exactly where needed, and the right fasteners for easy installation. OEM customers don’t have to change their parts to fit our product; we adapt to fit theirs.
Request a consultation today and stop relying on products that aren’t designed for your needs. Instead, gain the peace of mind you need to focus on other aspects of your business.
Erick Schuetz is the Senior Vice President of Business Development & International Sales at Safeguard Technology, Inc., and has 20 years of experience in the prevention of slips and falls. Erick has consulted on anti-slip solutions to a multitude of industries from general industry to OEM, transportation, marine, and oil and gas to name a few. He has worked both directly with end-users as well as through distributors domestically and internationally in over 30 countries worldwide.