Health and Safety Executive
Review Date 06/12/2016 Open Government Fully Open
Version No & Date 2: 06/12/2006 Author Unit/Section IR5 Safety Unit
All HSE and local authority Visiting Staff
REVISED SLIPS ASSESSMENT TOOL FOR USE BY HSE AND
LOCAL AUTHORITY FIELD STAFF AND BY DUTY HOLDERS
This OC describes the Slips Assessment Tool (SAT) which has been developed to
assist field staff in HSE and local authorities (LAs) to assess pedestrian slipping
risks on floors. SAT is a software package which is used in conjunction with a
portable surface micro roughness meter. SAT is suitable for use in both proactive
inspections and investigations as well as in slips project work. SAT was revised
and reissued on the HSE web site in early December 2006.
1 The Slips Assessment Tool (SAT) is a development of software which was pro-
duced by the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) to assist inspectors to assess slips
risks on contaminated floors in, initially, the food processing industries. This was
known as the Pedestrian Slipping Expert System (PSES). It soon became apparent
that PSES could be just as useful in a wider range of work environments. PSES was
trialled by about 40 HSE inspectors and field scientists and about a dozen groups of
LAs. The trials also involved architects, designers, and safety advisors. SAT is an
enhanced and more user-friendly development of PSES. Inspectors and other visit-
ing staff, e.g. health and safety awareness officers, may find SAT a useful aid during
interventions on slips issues. SAT version 1.0 was launched in October 2004. Fol-
lowing a survey of users a number of enhancements were incorporated and SAT ver.
1.1.0 was issued in December 2006.
FEATURES OF SAT VERSION 1.1.0
2 A complete description of the enhancements is given in
http://www.hsesat.info/satrelnotes_v110.htm. The feature which was most requested
by users was the ability to print off and save the results bar chart. Also, the bar chart
is now included in some of the report formats. More advice on methods of controlling
slips and trips has also been added.
ASSESSING FLOOR SLIPPERINESS
3 Regulation 12 (2) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regs. 1992
makes it an absolute requirement that floors should not be slippery so as to cause
someone to slip, trip or fall. Sometimes there may be little doubt in deciding whether
a floor is slippery, for example where there has been a history of slips accidents or
near misses in a particular location. In situations which are not so clear-cut, for ex-
ample an area of floor prone to contamination but without an accident history, it can
be helpful to have some more objective measure of slip risk potential. SAT provides
that objective input.
DESCRIPTION OF SAT
4 SAT is a PC-based package which enables an assessment of the slip risk poten-
tial of pedestrian walkways/surfaces. SAT is used in conjunction with a portable sur-
face roughness meter.
5 Many traditional slip test methods have only considered the physical nature of the
floor. However, there are a number of contributory factors that cause pedestrians to
slip. SAT has therefore been designed to take a holistic approach in assessing the
risk of slipping in a given location. The program calculates a ‘slip risk factor’, which
indicates if there is a high or low risk of slipping in any given situation and can help to
derive suitable remedial measures. The results can also inform the enforcement
process, although additional data, e.g. pendulum coefficient of friction measure-
ments, may be necessary to support enforcement action, particularly on flooring.
HOW TO USE SAT
6 SAT should be downloaded on to a laptop or PC rather than be used online. The
SAT home page is accessed via the slips and trips pages of the HSE website. Full
instructions are given, but essentially the user saves SAT to a suitable folder on the
hard drive of their PC, e.g. C:\Work\SAT. Any assessment reports that the system
generates will normally be saved to this folder, too.
7 During the assessment of slips risks the operator works through a logical set of
questions that require information on:
• floor surface type;
• nature and extent of contamination (e.g. water, oil, dust);
• the cleaning regime used;
• rate of recontamination of the floor;
• the type of footwear being used on site;
• factors relating to pedestrian use i.e. carrying of loads; and
• presence of elderly/ vulnerable persons etc.
8 The operator also makes and records measurements of floor surface micro rough-
ness at the test location using a small hand-held surface roughness meter.
9 All the above information is recorded on a proforma and is then input into a laptop
for an immediate assessment of slip risk. This is the preferred mode of operation. Al-
ternatively, the data can be input to a PC back at the office.
APPLICATION OF SAT RESULTS
10 On completion, a ‘slip-risk’ classification is generated which helps the user to de-
termine whether site conditions are likely to give rise to a high or low risk of slipping.
The SAT produces a summary page containing all the data input for a particular as-
sessment and a ‘score’ from 0 to 40+ where:
0 - 20 indicates Low slip risk
21 - 30 indicates Medium slip risk
31 - 40 indicates Significant slip risk
Over 40 indicates High slip risk
11 The summary is saved as a computer file. The assessment can then, if desired,
be repeated using alternative data such as better footwear, reduced amount of floor
contamination, better cleaning regime etc. A bar chart indicates the control measures
that would have the greatest impact on reducing the risk. However, some controls
may not easily be changed in the situation being examined and a judgment will need
to be made as to the best and most economical to target. The program can be run
several times in this way to produce a set of summary pages and scores which can
then be saved and compared to determine what changes or improvements would re-
sult in the best and/or most cost effective reduction in the slip risk on a particular
floor. The saved report in RTF format includes the results bar chart.
12 SAT can therefore demonstrate to the occupier the various remedial measures
that can be employed to reduce the slip risk to an acceptable level, and help them
choose the most beneficial approach. Use of the SAT software on site lends credibil-
ity and weight to the inspector’s judgment.
13 The SAT scores can be used to help determine the risk gap when using the En-
forcement Management Model (EMM). The process by which the SAT scores are
produced considers both the likelihood and consequence elements of risk analysis,
hence it is possible to go straight to an EMM risk gap. Table 1 represents a general
guide to assist inspectors to take appropriate action. The enforcement section of the
topic inspection pack on slips and trips (para 4.3.3) provides advice on developing
the initial enforcement expectation (IEE).
Table 1 - Use of the SAT to help determine the EMM risk gap
SAT score Risk descriptor EMM risk gap
0-20 Low slip risk Occupier complies with or exceeds legal
21-30 Medium slip risk Nominal or moderate
31-40 Significant slip risk Substantial
Over 40 High slip risk Extreme
14 The benchmark standard to use in the EMM is “established”. Although the stan-
dard is defined in general terms in Regulation 12(2) of the Workplace (Health,
Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the ACoP (floors shall not be slippery so
as to expose any person to a risk to their health and safety), the SAT considers how
this requirement is met. These factors are covered in HSE guidance that has an es-
tablished benchmark status (e.g. Slips and trips - guidance for the food processing
industry HSG 156), so this should be used when assessing a SAT ‘score’ through
the EMM. Note that the SAT should not be used as an automatic enforcement tool,
for example an Improvement Notice should not be issued based solely on the SAT
score with no other evidence of risk/non-compliance.
15 Where an inspector is considering prosecution, or enforcement action where sig-
nificant cost is involved such as laying a new floor, it is advisable to obtain specialist
advice from HSL’s Pedestrian Safety Section. This should be requested via the Divi-
sional Specialist Group (for HSE) or through the Enforcement Liaison Officer (ELO)
AVAILABILITY OF SURFACE ROUGHNESS METERS
16 To run SAT, users need to obtain a surface roughness meter. The type used by
HSE/LAs is the Surtronic Duo. Field teams are encouraged to procure a meter for
shared use within the team. Where further meters are needed, e.g. for a slips project
or ‘blitz’, this can normally be arranged. For information about the availability of
Duos, HSE field staff should contact Safety Unit.
17 Some local authorities have already purchased a surface roughness meter and
others may wish to do so. Details of meter suppliers are available on the SAT web
pages. A number of LA Liaison Groups have been loaned a Duo via their HSE ELO
for use on a shared basis during the trial period. These arrangements will continue. It
is expected that further LA Groups will request this arrangement and ELOs are re-
quested to facilitate the loan of a Duo in such cases.
TRAINING AND SUPPORT
18 SAT is easy to use, and full instructions are included in the package. However,
new users may need a short briefing on the use of the Duo, which can be given by
any experienced user. A Surtronic Duo user guide (or ‘How not to kill Kenny’) is
available on the Intranet http://intranet/slips/notkillingkenny.doc as well as an ac-
companying PowerPoint presentation for use in training
http://intranet/slips/assessmentkenny.ppt. These resources are also on the LA Ex-
tranet. It only takes a few minutes to become familiar with SAT. Safety Unit can ad-
vise on the locations of staff that are equipped with the Duo. LAs should direct any
training requests via their ELO.
19 The HSL field scientists have been issued with SAT and HSE field staff can re-
quest slips assessment visits from them in the usual way. The field scientists are
also being issued in stages with equipment for measuring coefficient of friction (CoF)
of floors (the pendulum tester or the SlipAlert rollercoaster-type tester). This meas-
urement, together with surface roughness, gives a more robust assessment of floor
slipperiness. Where CoF measurements are needed to support enforcement action,
measurements should be requested from the Pedestrian Safety Section at HSL
through the usual channels.
ACTION BY FIELD STAFF
20 Field staff are encouraged to become familiar with the SAT software by
downloading SAT on to their PC or laptop and following the instructions on the ‘How
to use SAT’ pages. A sample assessment report is given in the annex to this OC and
staff are encouraged to use the data in the report for carrying out a ‘dummy run’ with
SAT. When confident/ familiar with SAT, staff should consider using the SAT/Duo on
routine visits, investigations, or for slips project work.
21 SAT has been designed to be available to the wider health and safety community
and field staff should encourage duty holders, safety officers, etc. to download it and
22 For information on procurement of the Surtronic Duo, HSE staff should contact
Safety Unit. LA inspectors should contact their ELO.
23 For queries re the operation of the SAT software and Surtronic Duo use the SAT
Help E-mail account firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sample Slips Assessment Tool Report
Site: Kitchen test
Date: 12/10/2006 11:44
Operator: A N Other
Slip Risk: Medium Slip Risk (26)
Floor Type: Quarry Tile
Acid Etching: No
Roughness Meter Calibrated: Yes
Contamination: Semi-solid, Light
Potential Contamination Sources:
Footwear: Specialist anti-slip footwear
Floor Cleaning Types: Wet mopped, rinsed and dried
Floor Cleaning Frequency: Once a day
Contamination Reoccurrence: Recontaminated gradually after cleaning
Surface Usage: Pedestrians carrying loads, Rushing pedes-
Average Roughness Reading: 13.2
Roughness Readings: 13, 12, 14, 15, 16, 12, 10, 13, 13, 14