Unfortunately, the law on slip resistance is not as simple as a black-and-white line saying: “this is what represents a safe floor and anything else is unsafe”.
As such, various factors can come into play in determining whether you are legally compliant.
Relevant legislation includes:
- The Health & Safety at Work Act
- The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations
- The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations
- Building Regulations
- The Occupier’s Liability Act
There is also a raft of case law from civil and criminal proceedings.
What do you need to know?
- Essentially, in a commercial building of any kind (i.e. not a residential setting) whoever has “occupational control” over a building (and there may be more than one person or entity) has certain responsibilities regarding health & safety.
- On slip safety, floors should be safe in their intended end use.
- HSE typically defines safe as recording a Pendulum Test Value of 36+ but whereas for a poolside, where the floor is clearly designed to be wet, this PTV would need to be both in wet and dry conditions, in a constantly dry area such as an internal corridor, 36+ PTV in dry conditions should be acceptable.
- For the purposes of any public liability civil court action (a personal injury insurance claim made against a company whether by a visitor, customer, guest etc or an employee), the defendant’s obligation is to have taken reasonable care on the balance of probabilities to ensure the safety of the claimant
- In civil claims, it is for the defendant to convince the court that they acted reasonably, including: that their strategy was robust, that their systems and processes were both sufficient and being used correctly at the time of the accident
- Should any criminal action be taken (by HSE or a Local Authority) the standard judged is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It is therefore much harder to be found guilty in a criminal prosecution than a civil one
This article does not constitute legal advice, If you are a company seeking to defend a claim, please make contact with a lawyer.