Retail Design – Safety First!

Retail Design - Safety First -May 2016

This month we’re focusing on tiles suitable for use in retail scenarios and because we have so many ranges that meet a number of interchangeable requirements, we’ve broken it down into smaller chunks to ensure we provide as much relevant information as possible.

Retail Design is one of the most fast paced industries. Just like the fashion industry, success is hinged on offering the latest most and contemporary styles that bring a new approach to a traditional concept. From shopping centres to restaurants, boutiques and entrance lobbies – all require impeccable style to appeal to the target sector.

But, before we go into the aesthetics of design and the trends to follow, the first thing we must consider is safety. After all, retail environments see high foot traffic from the general public pretty much every day of the year so surfaces must be safe for purpose.

Health and Safety

The HSE suggests that floors in public spaces and workplaces must be suitable, in good condition and free from obstructions. People must be able to move around safely. It is the responsibility of manufacturers, architects, installers, etc., to ensure that surfaces do not pose a safety risk; therefore slip resistance should be defined.

The only slip test recognised by the Health and Safety Laboratory is the pendulum test. This is designed to simulate the action of a slipping foot and uses a weighted swinging arm that contacts the surface with a rubber heeled slider. Slip resistance is therefore calculated by measuring the upswing – the larger, the lower the resistance.

Tests are carried out in 2/3 directions with 8 tests per direction; results are determined by averaging all 8 test results. This method of operation is in accordance with UKSRG guidelines and BS 7976-2:2002.

For tiles used on floors the use of pendulum is covered by British Standard BS 7976-2. Results are produced following UKSRG (UK Slip Resistance Guidelines), which is an HSE approved document.

For example:

Slip potential classification, based on pendulum test values (PTV)


High slip potential 0-24
Moderate slip potential 25-35
Low slip potential 36 +

(Table taken from HSE –

Using tiles in accordance to safety requirements

To avoid workers and the general public incurring injury, it is vital the tiles used have been tested and adhere to HSE recommendations. Waxman Ceramics carries out its own pendulum test to provide a brief outline of a tile’s slip resistance, this should not be taken as its official rating. It is advised that you seek this information from the manufacturer.

Because of these ratings and HSE restrictions, manufacturers are aware that they must stipulate each tile’s preferred use. This helps when specifying for a projects, especially when safety is one of your main objectives.

We have a number of tiles that are both stylish and – suitable for the high demands of retail project – the ideal combination to help you achieve spectacular result.

Here are just a few:





WARM GREY 60x60 small



For more information about the ranges featured in this blog post or please head to the Architectural Collection – over on the Waxman Architectural Tiles website.

If you have any further enquires about the slip-resistance requirements and test that HSE recommends, please head to their dedicated page and download the PDF.

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