Reviews of SlipAlert Slip Resistance Tester
by Government Agencies
The British government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the agency responsible for enforcement of health and safety regulations in the United Kingdom. Their mission is to protect people’s health and safety by ensuring risks in the changing workplace are properly controlled.
The HSE review of SlipAlert appears in Contemporary Ergonomics 2005, published for the Ergonomics Society by Taylor and Francis. The paper is, “Roller Coaster Slip Tests Putting Slip Testing Back on the Rails!” by Hallas, Shaw, Lemon & Thorpe. They tested SlipAlert on 22 types of flooring, including terrazzo,VCT, parquet, linoleum, ceramic and quarry tile, wood, concrete, natural stone, and mosaic. Their comments:
“…a quick slipperiness test that actually works. In terms of operation, SlipAlert is very simple and user friendly.”
British Standards has now made the SlipAlert test part of BS8204 to measure floor friction.
The Australian government’s CSIRO is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse scientific research organizations in the world, with more than 75 years of excellence in scientific research. They tested 30 surfaces with SlipAlert. From “Slip resistance, Maintenance and Social Responsibility,” published in Tile Today by Richard Bowman of CSIRO’s construction division:
A valuable new tool
The SlipAlert is a new, simple, inexpensive, easily portable machine, which virtually anybody can use to immediately obtain an assessment of the slip characteristics of a floor surface. It is based on the pendulum principle. The pendulum imparts a consistent potential energy to the test surface (by raising its arm to a horizontal position) where the height of the pendulum is adjusted to obtain a consistent test length. The SlipAlert ‘cart’ is raised up a ramp to obtain a consistent proportional amount of energy. Both devices have a rubber test foot mounted at a slight angle to the ground. While the SlipAlert has a narrower rigidly fixed slider, the pendulum slider is spring mounted so that it can traverse the test specimen. The SlipAlert ramp has a rebate, so that the slider does not touch the ground until its front wheels are already travelling on the test surface. As the slider contacts the test surface, the rear wheels are lifted up and disengage. The length of travel is determined by the frictional force between the slider and the test surface. The relative slip resistance is measured by the distance that the front wheels travel. In the pendulum, the slip resistance is again a function of energy loss, where a scale is used to measure how high the arm swings after the test foot has ‘slid’ or bounced its way across the test surface.
The SlipAlert website (http://www.slipalert.com) provides comparative test results for ten surfaces that suggest that the results are in reasonable agreement with those of the Pendulum. CSIRO has found similar agreement when assessing the comparative wet slip resistance performance on some ten hard and twenty resilient surfaces, covering a wide range of surface textures.
Given that the SlipAlert is so quick and simple to use, it is anticipated that it will rapidly become the accepted tool for property managers to monitor cleaning performance between independent slip resistance audits, which might be carried out less frequently. Once a SlipAlert device is kept on site, there is the additional advantage of having it on hand should an accident occur, since measurements can be made immediately.
While CSIRO has found that the SlipAlert results are also a function of rubber test foot preparation, this does not become an issue where the test surface is used to prepare the slider. This edge of the slider is then reserved solely for testing that specific surface. Each test surface thus has its own specific test foot. Changing the slider only involves a single bolt. Minimal maintenance is required since the only other moving components are the wheels and the counter reset button. The counter is powered by a 9 volt battery. However, a regular internal checking program, similar to that required of the pendulum, would be a sensible decision.
SlipAlert is capable of measuring slip resistance down slopes, and a procedure has been established for compensating for the additional potential energy.
While the SlipAlert might mainly be seen as a means of rapidly assessing in situ slip resistance, it can also be used to determine the difference between wet and dry readings (as can the pendulum, which is used in the UK for wet and dry measurements). A small difference in results indicates there is relatively little hazardous risk if the product becomes wet. If there is a large difference, it suggests that there is a high accidental risk if a pedestrian fails to observe the wet area. A slip does not ensue from the foot utilising the traction that is available from a familiar floor; it results from the uncontrolled acceleration imparted by unknown floor conditions.
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