IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail


Be Careful, It’s Slippery!

Be Careful, It’s Slippery!

Slipping on ice in the winter is one of the main hazards of outdoor work activities. While many workers rely on their occupational footwear to keep them from slipping, they are often faced with a difficult choice when it comes to choosing the best anti-slip boots for winter. Standardized test methods exist to assess the coefficient of friction (CoF) of footwear on surfaces other than ice. Although the apparatus used for these tests can be used in tandem with a machine that can make icy surfaces in a refrigerated ice tray, little information has been published on making icy surfaces and on the validity of the test method using this ice tray.

A research group funded by the IRSST developed and evaluated a mechanical test method using a SATRA STM 603 measuring device to determine the slip resistance of footwear on icy surfaces and compared it with the MAA test (Maximum Achievable Angle) developed by the KITE Research Institute. Several findings emerged from this research, including that the CoF is generally lower on melting ice than on cold ice, meaning that melting ice is more slippery for most of the boots tested, regardless of the test method used. This study, which also assessed the overall performance of several models of boots, enables workers to make a better choice of boots, as the researchers assessed several models and identified those that stood out.

Evaluation of Test Methods for Determining Footwear Slip Resistance on Ice Surfaces ● Authors: Chantal Gauvin, IRSST; Atena Roshan Fekr, Yue Li, Gordon Wong, Wayne Cheng, KITE Research Institute; David Pearsall, McGill University; Tilak Dutta, KITE Research Institute ● R-1136-en