What is ALARP in Floor Safety

Wherever possible, a business, manager, or owner is recommended by the UK HSE and the UK Laws on Floor Safety to have floors that are safe from slips, trips and falls to keep persons safe.

This typically means if a floor is likely to become wet or contaminated in use and the mitigation to clean or offset this issue can not be easily or practicably met, then a floor, should give values when Pendulum Tested WET or CONTAMINATED (with substances relevant to that floor surface) a Pendulum Test Value of 36 PTV on a horizontal surface Increasing By 1.75 Degrees for Every 1 Degree Of Slope.

If, however, the floor can not meet this value of 36 PTV but it can be demonstrated properly, repeatedly and consistently that a floor, if it becomes wet or contaminated will be immediately addressed (such as cordoning off, cleaning and drying) then it ‘might’ be argued that ALARP has been met.

ALARP stands for ‘As Low as Reasonably Practicable’

ALARP - As Low as Reasonably Practicable - Scale of Affordability

ALARP, is used and promoted by the HSE and means that all reasonable effort has been applied to ensure a floor is safe and ‘holistic’ factors have been considered and applied such as: - monitoring / testing of floor surfaces; training in safety and risk; fast effective reaction to spills; effective cleaning; effective matting; suitable lighting; non-slip coatings; preventing environmental ingress and contaminants etc. and the cost involved in reducing the risk further would be grossly dispro­por­ti­onate to the benefit gained. The image above simply portrays this meaning; it is a balance of cost against risk.

A policy that considers these factors from a holistic ALARP viewpoint could be considered as reasonably robust in providing a relatively safe floor environment, even if the floor itself is unable to provide the ‘recommended’ 36PTV when wet on a horizontal floor. See Buying / Specifying Floors

The table below are GENERIC EXAMPLES of how ALARP might be considered / applied…

Have the following factors been CONSIDERED? 

Physical Aspects of ALARP

Provision of a floor that meets or exceeds 36 PTV when wet or contaminated
CONTROL (Examples) - Change of floor, Anti-slip coatings, Pendulum Testing and Surface Roughness Monitoring

Weather Ingress (On Clothing and Umbrellas, Prams, baskets and trolleys, Vehicles and fork lift trucks etc.)
CONTROL (Examples) - Mats, Canopies

Trip hazards and obstructions
CONTROL (Examples) - Housekeeping Policy

Wet contaminants (water, motor oil, diesel, cooking oil, perfume, shower products etc)
CONTROL (Examples) - Cleaning, Spills Recovery

Dry Contaminants (Talc, flour, salt, swarf, dust etc.)
CONTROL (Examples) - Cleaning, Spills Recovery

Floor slopes - Each 1 degree of slope above horizontal requires an additional 1.75 PTV
CONTROL (Examples) - Limit Angles to less than 5 degrees; Increase floor PTV values

Condition / wear of floor
CONTROL (Examples) - Cleaning, Repairing, Replacing

Control of Footwear
CONTROL (Examples) - Cleaning, Replacing, Policy, Using STAR Rated / GRIP Anti-slip shoes

Age and disability
CONTROL (Examples) - Ramps and Slopes, Lifts, Wheelchair access

Behaviour of staff and visitors
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Awareness, Training, Warninsg, Signs

Attitude Aspects of ALARP

Unaware of floor safety
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Awareness, Training

Inebriation and the effects of chemical substances
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Awareness, Training

Management Aspects of ALARP (Often a Key Problem)

A misplaced attitude to Aesthetics over Safe floors and Safety in general
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Education

Blind Acceptance that if manufacturers, websites and sales publications use the term ‘non-slip’ that it must meet all circumstances but do not prove the claim by testing or obtaining test certificates for products supplied.
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Education, Testing

Lack of understanding or niaivety of floor safety
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Education

No awareness or knowledge of the effects of floor slopes on slip safety
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Education

Failing to Inspect / Inadequate Inspections
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Education

Failing to conduct, plan or exceute Risk assessments / Inadequate Risk Assessments / In-house assessments can miss areas
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Education, Training, Actually doing one!

Reaction to spills - urgency, inadequate or no cleaning apparatus, training
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Education, Preparation, Awareness

Inadequate Lighting hiding / masking slip / trip hazards. 
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Education, Testing

Floor replacement programs and non-slip solutions not considered, planned or executed
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Education, Testing

Nil or inadequate assessments to correct for known hazards
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Education, Testing

Inadequate cleaning regimes 
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Education, Training, Timing, Equipment

Monitoring of potential slip hazards, awareness of what they might be
CONTROL (Examples) - Policy, Education, Training, Testing