When your floor gets slippery, it is essential that you deal with the problem quickly and effectively. You have a legal duty to provide a safe working environment for your staff, and if you are customer facing then you should also be looking to avoid having customers slipping about or falling over. There are a number of ways to temporarily or permanently improve the traction on your flooring, both inside and out, without having to completely re-surface, and one of the best is anti-slip tape.
As the name suggests, anti-slip tape is a type of adhesive tape that can be stuck to the ground or floor covering to provide a boost in traction. It is often used on stairs, ramps and high-traffic walkways, both interior and exterior, and is a great way of reducing the likelihood of slip and fall accidents – one of the most common causes of injuries in the workplace today.
The tape consists of the sticky side and a ‘grippy’ side. The grip comes from a coarse grit that is bonded firmly to the tape – it makes it seem like the user is stepping onto a rougher, higher-traction surface and increases the friction between the sole of the shoe and the bare flooring.
The main benefit is, of course, the anti-slip properties of the tape. There are a number of different options that can achieve that effect, though – so what makes anti-slip tape a good choice for you?
First, anti-slip tape is super easy to install. Much as you would tape up a box or package, you pull the end from the roll, draw out as much tape as you need and put it into position on a clean and dry floor surface. Smooth out any creases or air bubbles, and you are done. Repeat for as many strips as you need – many users choose to have one strip at the edge of a stair tread, for example, or several strips a foot or so apart on a walkway or ramp.
Secondly, it is easy to get your hands on anti-slip tape. You don’t need to put in a specialist order for GRP sheets that fit your steps or pathways, and you don’t need to wait for custom-cut flooring. You can just buy a roll of tape and get going.
Thirdly, anti-slip tape is cheap. You can vastly improve your site health and safety for not very much money at all – particularly when compared with other solutions.
Finally, and hand-in-hand with how cost-effective anti-slip tape is, you can easily and quickly replace it. If and when the tape becomes ragged, faded, or even if it begins to lose adherence, you can simply rip it up, clean down your surface and place another strip down.
The first thing you need to choose is the colour of your tape. You should be able to find tapes in a variety of colours, so if aesthetics is important you can get the tape that best suits your environment. Most industrial users will prefer to install a tape that is eye-catching, and in those cases you can use ‘hazard’ style tapes – typically yellow and black or red and white diagonal stripes. These will encourage walkers to step on to the tape, and thus increase the usefulness. In addition, particularly for stair nosing and marina gangways (for example) these colour/pattern combinations encourage extra care while walking in general.
Next, you need to pick the size of the tape. Length should not be a factor if you are buying on the roll, as you will be able to draw out the amount of tape that you need and cut off the length as required. If you are using pre-cut tape strips, then make sure that they are the right length for your use case. Width is an important factor – the wider the tape, the more traction that you give to those stepping on it – but wider tape may not fit comfortably onto your stair treads so measure up first. Anti-slip tape can range from 25mm to more than 150mm, so there are plenty of size options for you to select from.
You can also choose a tape that is designed specifically for indoor use or one that is suitable for external use – this latter will typically also be suited for indoor use and so is more versatile.
Make sure that your anti-slip tape is actually anti-slip. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) preferred measurement is the pendulum anti-slip test, and if your product is measured against this then you are more than likely in good hands.
Lastly, there are different types of adhesives to think about. Make sure that you get a tape that is suited to the flooring that you will be installing it onto.
Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.