Statistics show that 66% of all falls occur on level ground, showing that this percentage consists purely of slips and trips. With this in mind, the idea of a non-slip flooring material that is wear-resistant, affordable, and easy to clean, is talk of the IK4-TEKNIKER R&D centre as they work with seven other European countries to create what the industry has been missing for years.

With accidents caused by slips occurring regularly and more frequently, whether in public, private, or in a workplace, there has been a calling for a secure non-slip flooring solution for many years now. The experts at Brighouse Flooring expand on the current progression of this project:

The SlipSafe project was started in February 2014 and will last three years, enabling the UK, Spain, Germany, Slovenia and Belgium to find a comprehensive solution for the slipping issues that we have been experiencing. This project is being funded by €2.7m and is part of European Union Seventh Framework Programme.

The Project Brief

This project aims to showcase the new construction of materials and processes to design floors that are easy to fit, pleasing to the eye, are not changed due to atmospheric changes or moisture, are hard-wearing and, of course, non-slip. The IK4-TEKNIKER R&D centre and collaborating teams are making significant progress to meet this comprehensive brief and provide solutions throughout Europe.

The research that is being undertaken is mainly focused on the science that studies friction and wear of materials (tribological studies), and is being used to double the flooring’s useful service life for extra durability. By simulating the contact between footwear and flooring surface, the researchers at IK4-TEKNIKER are able to study the amount of friction caused which will help them form a solution that can endure this over a long period of time.

Long-Term Benefits

All of the non-slip surfaces that we have experienced in the past have worked on the basis of creating a hardened floor, generating friction through its surface. While making a floor surface rougher has its benefits, it makes cleaning near impossible and in fact makes it easier for dirt to collect together. This is another issue that the SlipSafe project is working to combat as flooring needs to be easy to clean, hygienic, and maintainable. This will ensure that the non-slip flooring is suitable for uses in places like hospitals where a disinfected environment is vital.

Of course, the more durable the new flooring is, the less often it will need to be replaced, and the longer it will remain non-slip. This means that the SlipSafe project will change the marketplace by providing a more affordable option, benefiting the industry greatly.

Preliminary Testing

As part of the testing of this research, the non-slip multi-purpose flooring will be fitted in real working scenarios such as in hospitals and shops. These areas will be chosen by their high rate of pedestrian traffic to ensure that the flooring is being tested for strong durability.