Slip Safety Services is offering 10 UK-based readers a free of charge slip safety surveys (normal value £500+VAT), including the HSE-approved pendulum test. Quote HSK2019 to redeem this offer.

To get the ball rolling, we suggest you book in a 15-minute call with Slip Safety Services’ MD Christian Harris by visiting


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Slip Risk in Hotels – What you can do to protect your guests, staff, and business’ reputation and costs!

“I didn’t think we had a problem as I’ve been here for 3 years and we have had less than 5 slips in our leisure club. But after two recent and serious accidents, both of which led to claims, we got a slip safety survey carried out and it highlighted areas for improvement. We’ve now sorted out our risks by working on the floor’s slip resistance, documenting a cleaning regime, and putting in place checks. I now feel much more confident that we are doing all we can to prevent accidents but also to protect our business in the event of any claims.” (Health & Safety Manager, London 5* hotel)

The most costly type of accident in the sector

Slips are the biggest cause of insurance claims in the hotel sector. Analysis by specialist hospitality and leisure broker James Hallam shows an average of 35% of insurance claims by volume are slips, trips and falls but by value this increases to 65%.

Remembering that according to the Heinrich Triangle there are normally 300 near misses for every serious accident, there is a huge potential cost to every single hotel.

General Managers, maintenance managers, engineers, head chefs, spa / leisure managers and housekeeping managers should all be aware of this risk and take action to mitigate it.

You can measure and therefore manage the risk

Most stakeholders do not realise that there are simple ways to reduce your slip risk by a factor of 50,000… see 70% fewer accidents… and thereby save £100,000’s on costs.

The eureka moment is often the knowledge that you can actually scientifically measure how slippery your floor is. As with anything, if you can measure it, you can manage it. The HSE uses the pendulum test for this (and in any enforcement or prosecutions it makes).

The pendulum test replicates a person’s heel striking a floor and quantifies the amount of friction produced. It gives you a Pendulum Test Value, which equates to a category of slip potential:

PTV Slip potential
0-24 High
25-35 Moderate
36+ Low

The PTV also equates to an accident risk exposure:

PTV Risk
19 1 in 2
24 1 in 20
27 1 in 200
29 1 in 10,000
34 1 in 100,000
36 1 in 1,000,000

The HSE says that floors should achieve a PTV of 36+ in their intended end use. Critical to this therefore is understanding which of your floors are foreseeably wet and therefore need to achieve this number in both wet and dry conditions.

If you can ensure your floors achieve PTV36+ in wet conditions versus PTV 24 then you have 50,000x less risk!

Hot spots

There are many prone environments for a hotel’s stakeholders to contend with; some are quite distinctive in the sector and others pose unique challenges.

  1. Guest bathrooms: both bath tubs / shower trays and floor surfaces are wet environments but surface selection of these floors is often flawed
  2. Kitchens: you probably have some sort of textured surface but just because there is a texture does not mean the floor is anti-slip. In particular, care should be taken about waiting staff who often do not have a footwear policy to assist with providing enhanced friction
  3. Restaurant: whilst slip risk in any restaurant exists, hotels tend to have self-serve areas for breakfast buffets where spillage risk is high
  4. Lobby: typically these have shiny floors which, if slip tested, would prove to be slippery when wet. Ingress of water is a fact of life. Fortunately, you can now have both shiny and safe floors
  5. Spa / leisure: certainly foreseeably wet floors
  6. External areas: any external floor is clearly foreseeably wet. Many hotels opt for wooden decking externally but this often does not meet the HSE benchmark of PTV 36+

Example of success

A 3* chain hotel was seeing a trend of slip accidents in its bath tubs: just under 3 incidents were being reported per week across the c.100 rooms.

In the past it had experimented with offering mats, but had realised that these produce their own issues: relying on guest intervention and introducing a cleaning and hygiene challenge. Further, the “anti-slip” circular bobbles on its tubs were, it felt, not working.

Following a slip safety survey the hotel understood that:

– The slip resistance of the bath tub when wet was poor

– The “anti-slip” circular bobbles did not offer any discernibly higher level of grip than the smooth end of the bath tub

It carried out anti-slip treatments to the bath tubs and in the 12 months following this, reported accidents fell from c.3 per week to 7 in the whole year, a reduction of 85%+.

Taking action had reduced the hotel’s exposure from £1.5m per year (156 potential claims at £10,000 per claim) to only £70,000.

How to protect your guests, staff, and business’ reputation and costs

Getting a slip safety survey done is clearly something that all hotels should strongly consider.

But in the meantime, here are some tips:

– Don’t assume that you haven’t got an issue: if you’ve not had accidents then you’ve probably just been lucky

– Don’t assume that textured or profiled surfaces offer good slip resistance

– Don’t assume that an aesthetically clean floor is necessarily a safe floor: whilst there is a correlation between cleanliness and safety, you can produce a nice visual standard but still leave residues on the surface which will compromise friction

– Use data to drive a strategy to mitigate your risk. This data may include:

1. Slip testing results
2. Accident frequency
3. Claims data
4. Floor types
5. Geography
6. Brand / consumer type

– Target the hot spots that this data shows for your business. As with most things in life, an 80/20 rule probably applies: solve issues with 20% of your floors and you’ll see 80% of your issues disappear

– Ensure to monitor performance of whatever slip safety strategies you put into place through further slip testing. We suggest annually as a minimum frequency for pendulum testing. There are other proprietary tests that we can recommend if you wish to do more frequent in-house monitoring to supplement this

Slip Safety Services is offering 10 UK-based readers a free of charge slip safety surveys (normal value £500+VAT), including the HSE-approved pendulum test. Quote HSK2019 to redeem this offer.

To get the ball rolling, we suggest you book in a 15-minute call with Slip Safety Services’ MD Christian Harris by visiting