Here at Safpro we hold monthly training meetings to ensure that staff knowledge and practice is up to date, so that we can advise on the very best safety solutions for our clients. We recently had a very useful session on Safety Footwear, Testing & Certification with Lloyd Preston - Member of CEN TC161 & Technical Manager at Tripal Group Ltd.
The training session covered all aspects of Safety Footwear, Testing & Certification but in this post I'm going to focus on a few key takeaways on slip resistant shoes.
Slip resistance is a key feature of safety footwear. HSE report 1/2 of all major workplace injuries are caused by slips!
For those that aren't familiar with the 3 slip tests, they are detailed below. Footwear is marked with “SRA”, “SRB” or “SRC” according to the test done and the results achieved.
“SRA” – Slip resistance on tiles with Sodium lauryl sulphate solution (soapy water).
“SRB” – Slip on stainless steel with Glycerol lubricant.
“SRC” – BOTH SRA and SRB tests have been done.
There are two modes of test used for footwear, a Flat mode and a Heel mode – both are required.
Requirements are a Co-efficient of Friction (CoF) that conform to the SRA or SRB standards below. CoF is a comparison between the downward force on the samples and the force required to move it over the surface.
Minimum CoF is specified as follows:
Ceramic tile with soapy water “SRA”
Steel with glycerol “SRB”
Flat test mode 0.32 CoF
Flat test mode 0.18 CoF
Heel test mode 0.28 CoF
Heel test mode 0.13 CoF
People tend to think that wearing Slip Resistant footwear removes the risk of slipping. It must be understood that ‘Slip resistant’ does not mean ‘Slip proof’. Slip resistant footwear reduces the risk of slipping but does not remove the risk. Slip resistance testing is a laboratory based method and it is not always a good predictor of real world performance.
SRC is currently the top rating for slip resistance and requires passing both the SRA and SRB test for it to achieve the rating. Because of this, we are often asked to only supply safety footwear that conforms to SRC.
But an SRC rating is not suitable for all applications; SRC soles often incorporate a tight tread pattern. These are ideal for use where there is minimal risk of clogging (e.g. an airport) but they are not suited for a job that involves working outdoors (e.g. in loose mud or gravel). They are much more prone to clog, thereby reducing slip resistance when in contact with natural loose surface.
SRA rated footwear may be the best solution for working outdoors. These are typically designed with a heavily cleated outdoor sole pattern that offers the user more traction in in loose mud or gravel and these normally only achieve SRA.
You must manage the potential slip risks in your workplace. Remember Safety footwear – as with all types of PPE – should only ever be used as a ‘last resort’ when all other reasonable or practical measures have been taken to manage the risk involved.