Pendulum: The Most Widely Used Slip Resistance Test Worldwide

The pendulum skid tester, known in the U.S. as the “British pendulum” although it was invented at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards, is the most widely used floor slip resistance tester worldwide for measuring the slip resistance of pedestrian surfaces (DCOF rating). It is a national floor slip test standard in at least 50 nations.

There are at least 24 DCOF slip test standards involving the pendulum tester, as shown in the table below. Abbreviations include:

  • AS          Standards Australia (ex. AS 4586)
  • ASTM     American Society for Testing and Materials (ex. ASTM E303)
  • BS          British Standards (ex. BS EN 16165)
  • CEN       European Committee for Standardization (ex. EN 16165)
  • SI           Standards Institution of Israel (SI 2279)
  • SS          Singapore Standards (SS 485)
  • TS          Technical Specification
  • JT/T       Chinese Highway & Transportation (JT/T 763-2009)
  • GB/T      Chinese National Standards (ex. GB/T 0964-2008)

An advantage of pendulum floor slip resistance tests is that there are many situation-specific safety standards, e.g. wet Pendulum Test Value (or DCOF rating) of 12 or higher for normally dry areas; 35 or higher for fresh fruit and vegetable areas in supermarkets; or 55 or higher for external ramps with slopes steeper than 1 in 14 (4.1 degrees). These are usually more realistic and helpful than a “one size fits all” criterion that purports to apply to all indoor and outdoor situations. Such criteria do not mean the floor is safe, just that it meets a certain bare minimum that might have been selected to help sell slippery products. These types of useless “one size fits all” minimum safety criteria have always been popular in standards published by the tile industry in the USA, such as 0.60 SCOF using ASTM C1028, which was withdrawn by the ASTM in 2014. This type of misleading nonsense has likely been the cause of tens of thousands of preventable injuries in the USA. Don’t be fooled by slip resistance tests published by American “tile councils” that are “in partnership” with the American tile industry.

The pendulum also is used for Sustainable Slip Resistance testing, devised by McDonalds Restaurants to aid in selecting flooring that will retain its wet slip resistance for years.

Safety Direct America can conduct most of the pendulum slip tests, either in our laboratory or onsite. Contact John Sotter in the U.S.A.: 949-933-6971. Our SparkleTuff™ clear coating for any type of floor has adequate wet and dry slip resistance for virtually any situation. It gives designers the freedom to select any attractive flooring and make it safe wet and dry.

Line no. Pendulum Test Methods and Specifications for Slip Resistance
1 AS 4586 Pendulum Test for Slip Resistance of New Pedestrian Surface Material
2 AS 4663 Pendulum Test for Slip Resistance of Existing Pedestrian Surfaces
3 ASTM E303 Standard Test Method for Measuring Surface Frictional Properties Using the British Pendulum Tester
4 ASTM F2772-11 Standard Specification for Athletic Performance Properties of Indoor Sports Floor Systems
5 BS 5385-3 Ceramic Floor Tiling Design refers to Pendulum Testing
6 BS 5395 Stairs Design refers to Pendulum Testing
7 BS 7932 Pendulum Test of Surfacing Units
8 BS 7976 Pendulum Testers
9 BS EN 14411 Pendulum Test for Ceramic Tiles (refers to TS 16165)
10 CEN/TS 15676 Pendulum Test for Wood Flooring Slip Resistance
11 CEN/TS 16165 Pendulum Test for Slip Resistance of Pedestrian Surfaces
12 CEN/TS 16165:2012 Determination of slip resistance of pedestrian surfaces – Methods of evaluation
13 Ceramic Tile Institute of America (CTIOA) endorsement of pendulum, 2001
14 EN 13036 Pendulum Test for Road and Airfield Surface Characteristics
15 EN 1338 Pendulum Test for Concrete Paving Blocks
16 EN 1339 Pendulum Test for Concrete Paving Flags
17 EN 1344 Pendulum Test for Clay Pavers
18 EN 14231 Pendulum Test for Natural Stone
19 EN 14904 Surfaces for Sports Areas
20 SI 2279 Slip Resistance of Existing Pedestrian Surfaces and of New Products Pedestrian Surfaces (Israel)
21 SS 485, Specification for Classification of Slip Pedestrian Surface Materials (Singapore)

pendulum slip tester

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