Slip-and-fall prevention begins at the design phase
Parking garages exist to make the best use of available space and to protect users from outdoor elements. Especially in cold climates like the northern US, a parking structure should allow people to avoid ice and snow in the winter months while walking from their cars to their destination.
The problem with these structures is that most have an open-sided design that allows snow and rain to get inside and collect on walkways and stairs, leading to a risky situation for slip-and-fall accidents. But a well-informed architect can easily design buildings with better safety results right from the start.
Battling the Elements
Riverside Parking Ramp was designed by the architects at HSR Associates, Inc. in La Crosse, WI. The specification called for checkered plate steel steps and landings. Since checkered plate steel has a very low Coefficient of Friction (COF)*, especially in harsh weather, the designer knew that anti-slip treatment would be needed to protect users of the garage from slips-and-falls. Safeguard® Hi-Traction® anti-slip direct gritting was the perfect solution.
A Better Way
Coatings applied on-site typically use sand to provide traction but this wears off quickly. Repeated applications are needed and this means downtime for the facility. Safeguard’s proprietary antislip surface uses fused alumina, one of the hardest substances around. This creates hard, sharp edges that grip footwear and last for a very long time.
In order to be sure that Safeguard’s antislip surface provides a long term solution, it is applied in a controlled environment. For the initial construction of the Riverside building, 256 pieces of steel – steps and landings – were sent to Streetsboro, Ohio for direct gritting. The team at Safeguard was able to receive the large, heavy pieces and manipulate them in the factory to apply the coating.
The architect specified that 3-inch-wide, non-slip strips with aluminum oxide (fused alumina) grit be bonded to the nosing of the stair treads. The grit was specified to be #24 mesh, suitable for commercial and pedestrian applications and to be applied to a minimum thickness of .10 inches. The color was to be contrasting to tread, selected by A/E from the standard line. Most importantly, the spec said the product must be comparable to Direct Gritting from Safeguard Technology as on www.safeguard-technology.com.
The second phase of the Riverside Parking Ramp added two stories above the existing building and again Safeguard was contacted to make sure that the steps and landings had the dependable anti-slip that the architect had in mind. Another new parking garage was completed in 2017 with 220 steel plates coated.
Strong specifications ensure that architects and designers get the quality needed for their projects to be successful. Collaboration between designers, contractors, and manufacturers ensures that parts have their intended form, function, and safety. Facility owners can rest assured that they are running a safe operation. Manufacturers breathe easy knowing their products are as safe as possible.
Not all surfaces are optimal for direct gritting. To find out if Safeguard’s Direct Gritting is a solution for the anti-slip safety of your product, call 800-989-1695 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Coefficient of friction (COF) is a value that shows the force of friction between two objects, in this case, the floor/steps and the people’s footwear. A low number means very little friction, so slips-and-falls are very likely.