DCOF Rating for Floors
The latest American slip test for floors is the DCOF rating test method specified in ANSI A326.3. Although this test is a much better test than the now-withdrawn ASTM C1028 that was previously included in the International Building Code, the new test method comes with a great deal of “disclaimers”, including the warning that a DCOF rating of over 0.42 does NOT mean that surface will be suitable for all applications. The standard says that you must also consider “type of use, traffic, expected contaminants, expected maintenance, expected wear, and manufacturers’ guidelines and recommendations.” It does not offer any kind of guidance on what number you should seek to compensate for any of these factors, and the test is specified ONLY for indoor, level floors expected to get wet in use.
More importantly, the ANSI A326.3 DCOF rating (which is procedurally identical to the ANSI A137.1 tile slip test) states that “The coefficient of friction (COF) measurement provided in this standard is an evaluation of hard surface flooring materials under known conditions using a standardized sensor material prepared according to a specific protocol. As such it can provide a useful comparison of surfaces, but does not predict the likelihood a person will or will not slip on a hard surface flooring material.” This means that this DCOF rating is not an assessment of real-world slip risk, but rather a way to compare surfaces to one another. So if you want to know if a polished surface is more slippery than a rough one, then this is the test for you. But if you’re looking to assess the actual real-world slip risk of a particular type of flooring, an ANSI DCOF rating is not really going to help you.
The pendulum DCOF tester has been in use for 50 years and has an official test method in at least 49 nations (including the USA – ASTM E303), and has been used to investigate countless slip and fall accidents around the world. The amount of research that has gone into the slip coefficient test using the British Pendulum tester is extensive. The results acquired from a pendulum test IS going to give you an assessment of the slip risk of that flooring, based on decades of good scientific research.
We always recommend the Australian version of the pendulum slip test, which gives recommendations for each area of a building. The A326.3 test basically says that 0.42 or higher is “potentially ok”, and anything less is “bad”. Seems a bit too simple, doesn’t it? And what if your flooring is going outside? Around a pool deck? Sloped for drainage? Includes a ramp? Stairs?
This is what the HB198:2014 (AS/NZS 4586) pendulum test is for: assessing real-world slip risk, and getting slip-risk recommendations based on where your flooring will be installed. Safety Direct America can perform both the ANSI A326.3 test and the pendulum DCOF test for you, so you can satisfy building inspector/specifier requests AND assess the real-world slip risk of your flooring samples. We’re the experts in floor slip resistance testing! And we offer a discounted price for getting these two tests together in our “Recommended Slip Test Package.” There’s a lot of bad information out there, and we’re here to help people make good decisions when looking to install a new floor in an area that will get wet or otherwise lubricated in use. We will assess your real-world slip risk using decades of good science so you can avoid slips and falls.