ASTM E303 Slip Resistance Test Safety Criteria
If you’re looking to get an ASTM E303-22 DCOF slip resistance test done on your floor, tile or road by the American experts in this field, click on ASTM E303 slip resistance testing. We do coefficient of friction testing in our certified lab, and we test floors and roads all over North America and beyond with the pendulum slip resistance tester and other reliable DCOF rating instruments. This is our specialty, and our knowledge in this field is unmatched in the Americas. Email us for a quote to test on site at your location.
The newly revised ASTM E303 slip resistance test method (published in 2022) was created to determine the slip resistance of a flooring surface (or the skid resistance of a road surface) using the pendulum dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) tester (sometimes called the British Pendulum Tester). The official title of the test method is “ASTM E303-22 – Standard Test Method for Measuring Surface Frictional Properties Using the British Pendulum Tester”. This American slip resistance test method (first published as ASTM E303-93 in 1993) was shown to have precision and reproducibility between slip resistance testing labs (required by the ASTM) over 30 years ago now, unlike many other American slip resistance test devices (like the English XL and Brungraber Mark IIIB) popular with slip and fall expert “liars for hire” that use withdrawn ASTM standards that were withdrawn by the ASTM due to a lack of precision.
The usefulness and precision of pendulum DCOF slip resistance testing has just continued to improve over the decades, as it has been in use in well over 50 nations around the world for over 50 years now, which has led to well-researched safety criteria for pendulum DCOF test results. The latest version of ASTM E303 now more closely mirrors the pendulum slip resistance test methods used across the European Union (EN 16165, which superseded EN 13036), the United Kingdom, Australia (AS 4663, AS 4586), New Zealand, Singapore, Israel, China, India and numerous other nations that have been using the pendulum slip resistance test device for decades to determine the real-world slip resistance of floors and roads to help eliminate avoidable injuries and accidents. The pendulum DCOF tester is easily the world’s most widely-accepted, well-researched, and universally-trusted tribometer for measuring the frictional properties of a surface to assess safety, both in the lab and on site in the field. There have been numerous research studies done in many countries over the decades using the pendulum skid tester proving it’s precision and usefulness.
The video below shows the pendulum DCOF tester in action doing the ASTM E303-22 test method:
Floor Slip Resistance Testing with ASTM E303
Floor slip resistance test methods in the USA have historically been created to help sell slippery flooring in the United States, or help wealthy building owners defend the slip and fall lawsuits brought against them when they install polished, slippery floors that cause avoidable injuries. With this latest version of ASTM E303-22, the United States now has a reliable and trustworthy slip resistance test method for the use of assessing the actual real-world slipperiness of floors.
This is a big moment for American floor slip resistance testing, after numerous useless and highly misleading American floor friction test methods were either withdrawn or allowed to expire over the decades. Nonsense test methods were typically published by the American tile industry and expert slip and fall “liars for hire” (who run the ASTM F13 committee) such as ASTM C1028 (withdrawn), ANSI/NFSI B101.1 (expired), ANSI/NFSI B101.3 (expired), ASTM F1677 (withdrawn, for Brungraber Mark II, which became the almost identical Brungraber Mark IIIB), ASTM F1679 (withdrawn, for English XL), ASTM F1678 (withdrawn), ASTM F609 (withdrawn), ASTM F489 (a floor SCOF test with the James Machine, withdrawn in 2005) and on and on and on. These test methods only helped to create the slip and fall injuries that unscrupulous full-time slip and fall expert witnesses make their well-paid living with in American courtrooms.
The latest nonsense published by slip and fall “expert liars” is ASTM F2508, which is a way to falsely “validate” their “slip test tribometers” that lack any good science behind them, and have either a withdrawn ASTM standard or no standard at all anywhere on earth. For the test methods created by representatives of the tile industry, such as ASTM C1028 and ANSI A326.3, the goal is and was to help sell slippery tile, and then defend building owners who have installed it only to soon find themselves defending their slippery floors in court with the help of “liars for hire” using the English XL and Mark IIIB.
ASTM E303-22 changes all that. Now architects, building owners, specifiers and flooring manufacturers can make informed decisions based on internationally-approved science to help avoid slip and fall accidents happening on their properties before they find themselves needing to hire unscrupulous slip and fall “liars for hire”.
Interpretation of Results and Safety Criteria for Pendulum Floor Slip Resistance Testing
In the United States, ASTM standards don’t come with safety guidelines or recommendations (they’re just test methods), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says floors should be “slip resistant”, but doesn’t define what that means. OSHA gives guidance based on meaningless misinformation they digested from expert court liars (mentioned above), and usually building codes are vague, misinformed, and change every few years. So Americans have been left to guess a flooring’s slip resistance, or ask the tile manufacturer what tiles are appropriate for areas that must be slip resistant. That’s often like asking a used car salesman if the old junker you’re looking at will keep reliably running for decades. A good salesperson will tell you whatever will get you to pull out your checkbook. But luckily the international floor slip resistance testing community has been working on safety guidelines for decades using the British Pendulum Tester.
According to the United Kingdom’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Ceramic Tile Institute of America (CTIOA), and the United Kingdom Slip Resistance Group (UKSRG, of which our John C. Sotter is a contributing member), level floors that have a Pendulum Test Value (PTV) or British Pendulum Number (BPN) below 25 are considered “high slip potential”, flooring with a PTV between 25 and 35 are considered “moderate slip potential”, and level floors with a PTV above 36 are considered “low slip potential.” Higher PTV values mean better slip resistance. For floors with a slope (ramps and floors that need drainage, for instance), a mathematical calculation is used to calculate larger minimum safety criteria numbers based on the degree of slope. For instance, a floor with a slope of 2° would need a minimum PTV of 39 to fall into the “low slip potential” category, a floor with a 4° slope would need a PTV of 42.
The UK’s Health and Safety Laboratory, in conjunction with the UKSRG, has deemed a minimum value of 36 PTV is required to satisfy the HSE and the courts in a civil or criminal personal accident claim action in the United Kingdom. In the USA, we don’t have a DCOF or PTV value that means a flooring is “safe”. We just wait until an injury occurs, and then everyone gets a payday! The lawyers, doctors, physical therapists, “expert” witnesses, judges, people who will replace the floor or put an anti-slip treatment on it, etc., etc., etc. With international guidance and the floor slip test ASTM E303, you can avoid the nightmare of defending a slip and fall lawsuit in America.
Based on the Australian Safety Codes and Guidelines in HB198:2014, different flooring areas will require different levels of slip resistance. Here are their recommendations for minimum pendulum DCOF slip resistance test values for various areas (click on chart below to open it up):
One number missing from these recommendations is for bathtubs and showers in the home and in hotels. These are high-risk areas where a fall can lead to the head colliding with a faucet or the side of the tub, or a person falling through a glass enclosure. So many serious injuries and deaths are recorded annually from tub and shower slip accidents that it’s easy to see why we recommend that the flooring in these high-risk areas have a low slip potential, or a minimum PTV of 36.
Road Skid Resistance Testing with ASTM E303-22
From the Transport and Road Research Laboratory in the United Kingdom, we get the recommendations below for various roadway situations (click on the photo to open it up in a bigger format).
From this search, we get more generalized guidelines which state that based on various standards and studies, the pendulum test value (PTV) over 55 represents a good skid resistance for roads, and over 70 indicates a high skid resistance.
Below is a photo of some standard road pavement we tested recently in the USA. This pavement was tested using the pendulum DCOF tester and ASTM E303-22. The wet PTV was found to be 64 using the hard “Four S” rubber, and 66 using the soft “TRL” rubber. These values would be considered “average” for most of the unpainted pavement we’ve tested over the past couple decades. Paint used to create crosswalks, for instance, can greatly reduce PTV values by glossing over the sharp points and pores within the surface.
Converting PTV (Pendulum Test Value) to DCOF (Dynamic Coefficient of Friction)
For reference, here is a list of conversion of PTV to DCOF values. It should be noted that DCOF numbers generated by the pendulum test do not in any way correspond to a safety criterion from another test method. Using the BOT-3000E and ANSI A326.3, the safety criterion is generally a DCOF of 0.42 for indoor, level floors. That incredibly low minimum helps tile salespeople sell slippery tile to unsuspecting consumers. For the now-withdrawn ASTM C1028, people mistakenly believed that the safety criterion was an SCOF of 0.60 for level floors. In fact, that was never actually the case. Numbers obtained from one test method cannot be converted into becoming relevant for another test method, especially when one test is an SCOF (static coefficient of friction) test and the other is a DCOF (dynamic coefficient of friction) test. Don’t be fooled by “experts” who pretend there is a “universal slip resistance test number” (or slip index) that is considered safe. That’s either a lie, or a profound misunderstanding of how science works.
Each test method will have its own safety criterion (hopefully a different criteria for different situations, as pool decks should probably have more slip resistance than hotel lobbies) based on real-world international slip and fall research, and there is no “golden number” that applies to each type of test method. If someone says that, you can safely disregard everything else they say.
Buying a Pendulum DCOF Tester and Pendulum Tester Calibration Services
We can sell you your own pendulum DCOF tester here. We can also help train you in it’s use.
We were originally trained in pendulum calibration many years ago in the Wessex pendulum manufacturing facility in the United Kingdom, and we have calibrated countless pendulums over the decades for companies and governmental agencies in several countries around the globe. More information on our calibration services can be found on our British Pendulum Calibration Services page.
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