In February of 2022, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) issued a revised version of their “Test Method for Measuring Dynamic Coefficient of Friction of Hard Surface Flooring Materials.” The test method is called ANSI A326.3, and it sets a very low bar for DCOF in various flooring areas. Slip and fall accidents will likely occur on your property if you rely solely on this test method to assess the slip resistance of a floor. Situation-specific recommended minimum DCOF values range from 0.42 to 0.55. As in previous versions, this one has important caveats. E.g., “The specifier shall determine materials appropriate for specific project conditions, considering by way of example, but not in limitation,
“type of use,
“expected wear, and
“manufacturers’ guidelines and recommendations.”
The caveats are the most crucially important parts of this standard! We will suggest a way of dealing with them. (There are also additional caveats in other parts of the standard.)
The standard gives no suggestions for how to evaluate the six factors. It stands to reason that if these six factors (and others in some cases) are ignored (as they usually are) or not considered adequately, meeting the minimum DCOF number (e.g., 0.42 or 0.55) is virtually meaningless. According to pendulum test data, as well as real-world observations, a floor can be very slippery and still exceed the 0.42 criterion.
The ANSI standard totals 17 pages, and it and any updates are available free from Tile Council of North America (TCNA). We shall not try to detail it here, but the TCNA is the same organization that spent nearly two decades wreaking havoc across the USA by promoting the use of the utterly misleading ASTM C1028 test, before it had to be withdrawn by the ASTM for being so meaningless and dangerous. C1028 was likely the cause on tens of thousands of preventable slip and fall accidents over those two decades.
We suggest that pendulum DCOF test data be used to assess whether a flooring is suitable for a specific application. This is the basis for our “Recommended Slip Test Package,” which includes both (1) an ANSI A326.3 test using the BOT-3000E, and (2) a DCOF test using the pendulum skid tester, which is a national standard in at least 50 nations and has been in use since 1971. The pendulum is the most commonly used pedestrian slip test method in use worldwide.
Some recommended minimum DCOF values (with caveats) for level surfaces from the new ANSI A326.3 are as follows:
Interior, dry 0.42 (page 2 of the standard)
Interior, wet with water 0.42 (p. 2)
Interior, wet plus (as declared by manufacturer; including barefoot areas) 0.50 (p. 5)
Exterior, wet 0.55 (p. 5)
Oils, greases 0.55 (p. 6)
These minimum values can still allow for very slippery floors to be installed in areas where they will certainly cause problems, so we recommend pendulum testing to assess the real-world slip resistance and avoid slip accidents on your property. A British pendulum standard simply recommends a minimum wet Pendulum Test Value (PTV wet) of 36 or higher for level floors that are liable to get wet in use. However, since 1999 Australia has had a detailed set of PTV wet standards that are specific to many different situations. Recommended minimum wet PTV values in that standard range from 12 to 55.
We suggest that the appropriate Australian Pendulum Test Value minimum, or a minimum for a situation of similar applicability, be applied together with ANSI A326.3 test results for DCOF. The objective is to have test data that can both prevent injuries and demonstrate due diligence in a court of law. ASTM E303-22 is very much similar to the Australian pendulum test now that it was updated and revised in 2022. We recommend using ASTM E303 if you must use an American slip resistance test to assess safety.
Stuck with an existing floor that’s had complaints of slips? Coat it with our transparent, long-wearing SparkleTuff™ Anti-Slip Floor Coating. It can retain its wet slip resistance after more than a million people have walked across it. The floor need only be clean and dry to apply SparkleTuff™ using the roller cover we supply. We have yet to find a flooring to which SparkleTuff™ won’t adhere!