Each year about 25,000 to 30,000 Swedes are injured as they slipped on ice or snow, according to the Swedish Consumer Agency. On average, 3.000 people are hospitalized each year in Sweden as a result of injuries from falling on ice and snow. This according to (MSB) Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and the National Board of Health and Welfare.
The assignment that Luleå University of Technology has received from the Swedish Transport Administration means that by using test persons, test different anti-slip devices and shoes to investigate the friction and balance ability on different surfaces. Furthermore, the user friendliness to be examined; How are they to put on, they sit well and how the user experiences them.
It should also be investigated whether it is possible to develop a Swedish standard, and maybe even a Nordic and European standard for winter shoes, soles and anti-slip devices. They will also investigate what testings should be like in that matter, what further research is needed in this area and how aid and footwear for pedestrians in winter can be developed to prevent from slipping and falling.
- I absolutely believe that it is possible to develop a Swedish standard for anti-slip devices, winter shoes and outsoles. Considering how many people are injured each year in Sweden because of falls due to slippery ice and snow, and what it costs society in terms of health care costs, this is important, says Glenn Berggård, project manager and researcher at Luleå University of Technology.
For several years, Glenn Berggård has conducted systematic research on anti- slip devices using practical laboratory experiments in the outdoor environment. He is known for these tests with real pedestrians of all ages who simply put on one after another up to the 30 slip models that are available in the market, and tested their ability and function of the special-research made icy and slippery paths.
The principle has been simplified to that of some car testing activities in winter conditions, namely that the surface had different temperatures, different material of friction and variable snowfall.
Among other things, Glenn Berggård tested how the grip has varied depending on the model. The surface temperature ranged from -2 to -7 degrees and the ground has been including polished ice, sanded ice, ice chips or snow on the ice.
- Most accidents occur during the first day with fresh snow on pure ice, sand on ice, gravel on ice, salt on ice and sow on ice, says Glenn Berggård.