Slip Resistance Explained

Slips, Trips and Falls

Anti-slip Ratings Explained

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) there were 111,000 self-reported non-fatal injuries to workers caused by slips, trips and falls on level ground in the UK in 2017. (Source: HSE Report ‘Kinds of accident in Great Britain, 2017') 

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (also known as HSWA, HSW Act and HASAWA) is the main piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in the UK. The Act states that it is the employer’s duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and other people who might be affected by their business. Employers must do whatever is reasonably practicable to achieve this, this includes taking steps to control slips and trips.

Controlling slips and trips is not just about keeping walkways hazard clear, the type of footwear worn in the work environment is also very important. A non-safety shoe with very little, or no tread can be prone to slipping on a variety of surfaces, thus increasing the risk of accidents and incidents.

Slip Resistance Ratings

You may have noticed slip-resistance ratings on your footwear. The following chart details the slip resistance ratings for industrial PPE footwear in Europe, EN ISO 13287, the testing conditions, and the minimum requirements.

Slip Resistance Ratings to Conform to EN13287


Footwear Surface Testing Conditions


Minimum Coefficient Requirement


Ceramic tile with sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) solution

Forward heel slip

Forward flat slip

Not less than 0.28

Not less than 0.32


Steel floor with glycerol solution

Forward heel slip

Forward flat slip

Not less than 0.13

Not less than 0.18


Tested on both of the above

Meets all of the requirements for both



What Does Coefficient of Friction Mean?

A coefficient of friction is defined as being a value that shows the relationship between the force of friction between two objects and the normal reaction between the objects that are involved. Measuring the friction between two objects is dependant on how easily the surfaces move against each other.

When smooth surfaces come into contact the coefficient of friction is generally lower, with poor traction – think soft socks on a freshly polished floor. Where two rough surfaces meet, the coefficient of friction is generally higher, with better traction – like wearing socks on a wool pile carpet.

Does Slip Resistance Work on all Surfaces?On thin ice

Slip resistant shoes offer greater traction in slippery conditions, on a variety of floor surfaces. Where liquid such as oil has been spilled, the grip will alsways be better that that of shoes which don't have an anti-slip sole, but caution must still be taken. Extreme conditions such as ice, can still pose a risk. In extreme circumstances like this, additional products aimed at gripping in snow and ice can be fitted over shoes to gain traction.

Are All Anti-slip Shoes Equal?

Sole materials, tread designs and patterns are all elements that differ from shoe to shoe. Although each shoe style is tested before being awarded their slip-resistance rating, the coefficiency of adhesion scores can differ from style to style, so you can get footwear rated with SRC, that may have a better coefficiency of friction score than another style with the same SRC rating.

Are All PLS Shoes Anti-slip? Slip Resistance Ratings Explained

Yes! The majority of our shoes have an SRC rating, meaning the highest possible level. The small amount that have an SRA rating are clearly marked. We do not sell any professional shoes that do not have a slip-resistance rating at all.

We also supply product specification sheets that include the coefficient friction test results for each style, these product data sheets also hold useful information on a variety of tested areas such as impact resistance.




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