GET SLIP TESTS The consequences of a serious slip

In a fast-food restaurant, a 16-year old girl and her colleagues were having some fun at the end of their shift. “Let’s play who can slide farthest” suggested the restaurant manager. He and his whole team knew how slippery the tiled floor was.

But their fun didn’t last. The girl slipped a bit worse than anticipated. Her arm went elbow-deep into a deep fat fryer.

A critical injury. A life ruined. Huge time and administrative costs racked up. A significant insurance claim. Higher premiums. Criminal enforcement. Giant reputational risk.

All from “just a slip”.

Forewarned is forearmed Things could easily have been so different. Floors must not be slippery in environments, like that kitchen, which routinely get wet or contaminated. But how can you be sure that your floor is unsafe or not?

The first line of defence against slip accident is a slip test. Getting a pendulum test from a reputable supplier costs around £500. In the context of the kitchen example, that’s undoubtedly money well spent.

Indeed, the investment of one slip test needs to prevent or help to defend only one average-sized claim (£10,000) every 20 years to be cost-neutral.

What gets measured, gets managed

There are six reasons, someone may slip (CHIMES: Contamination, Heel, Individual, Maintenance, Environment, Surface). 50% of these have to do with the floor surface. If you can scientifically understand your floor surface, you can start to address any issues.

Until you know whether your floor is slippery-when-wet or not, it’s impossible to formulate a coherent slip safety strategy.

Not all floors are slippery when wet. But, even if your floor is slippery-


when-wet, there are actions you can take (like anti slip treatments) to make even shiny stone floors not just look pretty, but also be more than pretty safe.

Don’t be superficial – learn from the Co-Op slip death

Take the example of Co-Op stores, and the well-publicised death following a slip in 2015.

After the case, Cornwall council said that: “Signage alone is not an adequate control. Proactive measures must be taken to either prevent floors becoming slippery or precluding public access.”

In a local supermarket, it’s not operationally feasible to close entire aisles off.

A pendulum test on this floor during construction, before any changes in cleaning regime, and as a frequent (annual is recommended) monitoring activity would have identified this slip risk and enabled proactive steps to be taken to prevent this fatal accident.

Not all slips are this serious, clearly. But slips are the biggest cause of

A&E admission and insurance claim year, after year, after year. That’s hundreds of thousands of people’s lives being affected. All for want of some testing.

Shh: a hidden secret to get slip tests done for free

Your insurance company may well fund or part-fund slip test for you. So, your actual cost to save £10,000- 100,000 could even be zero.

This is done through what’s known as a “risk management bursary”. This funding is often available, yet, in many cases, clients don’t know it exists, so it goes unspent.

Discover more

For a more detailed explanation of this funding, Christian Harris, MD of Slip Safety Services, invites you to listen to his Safety & Risk Success Podcast episode with Chris Gill (formerly head of risk management at insurer QBE).

Christian said: “We work with many of the leading insurers and brokers and so can help you to unlock this funding. Book in a call to see if we can help.”

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