New 'snowflake' scale to rate slip-resistance

It is estimated that more than 20,000 Ontarians visit the emergency room every year due to injuries related to falling on ice or snow.

A recent Toronto Public Health report revealed that over 40 per cent of those aged 35-59 years and 60 per cent of those aged 60-85 years said they would go out less as a way to cope with the winter weather.

To keep Canadians safer this winter, a team of Toronto Rehab researchers working in our WinterLab are offering evidence-based ratings on footwear that may reduce the risk of slips and falls on ice. The team has developed the first test of its kind in the world – the Maximum Achievable Angle (MAA) Testing Method– to validate slip resistant footwear on icy surfaces.

Appeared on CityNews November 24, 2016

Toronto Rehab’s iDAPT WinterLab (shown in photo) has the ability to recreate typical Canadian winter conditions, for example sub-zero temperatures, snow and ice covered surfaces and winds up to 30 km per hour. WinterLab can be tilted to create slopes, or can be moved suddenly to challenge a participant's balance while safely fastened into a harness. With the help of WinterLab, researchers have tested the slip resistance of 98 winter boots, including both safety and casual footwear.

Using a ‘snowflake’ scale, the results have been published on – with only eight per cent of the 98 different types of footwear meeting the minimum slip resistance standards set out by the MAA test.

"This is another example of how research at Toronto Rehab provides practical help to prevent accidents and disability. I expect that many serious and life-changing injuries will be prevented this winter by people choosing to buy better non-slip footwear," says Dr. Geoff Fernie, Research Director, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

Research in the iDAPT WinterLab is funded in part by the RBC Innovations Fund at the Toronto Rehab Foundation.

Read more at UHN News

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