Slips and trips: why expanded metal can lead to safer walkways

Slips and trips: why expanded metal can lead to safer walkways


Did you know that slips and trips are the most common cause of injury at work?

Findings reported by HSE* (Health and Safety Executive), the independent health and safety regulator, show that on average, slips and trips cause over a third of all major injuries and over half of all reported injuries to members of the public in workplaces where there is public access, such as shops and restaurants.

In hazardous environments such as offshore platforms, factories and petrochemical facilities, poor grip on walkways – which are often exposed to spills or the elements – can endanger life.

To test the slip resistance of a walkway there are typically two methods using standard scientific testing equipment, the first being using a surface microroughness meter which has been shown by HSL (Health and Safety Laboratory) scientists to be a useful indicator of the slip resistance of a surface in wet conditions. The other method is conducted using a pendulum - and is the HSE’s preferred method of testing.

The pendulum method is based on a swinging imitation heel (using a standardised rubber soling sample), which sweeps over a set area of flooring in a controlled manner. The slipperiness of the flooring has a direct and measurable effect on the pendulum test value (PTV) given. The slip potential classification ranges from 0-24 PTV signalling a high slip potential, through to values of 25-35 PTV indicating a moderate slip potential and finally values of 36+ PTV shows surfaces with a low slip potential. For instances where the surface is in a hazardous environment a 36+ PTV value would be necessary to maintain health and safety standards.

When it comes to selecting an anti-slip surface you may be aware of the standard grating solution, mesh grating or pultruded grating but have you considered expanded metal mesh?

Many of the benefits of expanded metal mesh can be applied to provide anti-slip surfaces for ramps, walkways, gantries and stair treads. For instance, it has inherent strength and durability – making it long lasting and suitable for heavy pedestrian traffic. The design of expanded metal mesh means that water is allowed to easily drain away with snow, ice and mud easily breaking off under foot – all of which reduces the risk of slipping.

The Expanded Metal Company’s range of walkway mesh includes our Supagrip walkway mesh (pictured above) which provides multi-directional grip for wheelchair users and most types of footwear. It has been tested and measured against load bearing capacities and is certified to BS7976 Part 2 standard (pendulum slip testing). The result of the testing showed that across a range of gradients in both wet and dry conditions the walkway mesh offered up to 268 per cent more slip resistance than the minimum standard set for a product’s low slip potential, making it especially suitable for hazardous environments where grip and safety underfoot are critical.

Our expanded metal mesh walkway and ramp products can also be designed to have aesthetic appeal, and are available in a variety of material grades, including aluminium, steel and stainless steel. And for added protection and corrosion resistance we can provide coatings such as galvanising and polyester powder coating.

To find out more about our walkway mesh take a look at our product pages.

Source: HSE, Slips and Trips resources