Floor slip resistance testing is an essential process for ensuring safety in public spaces, workplaces, and homes. It helps to identify the level of slip resistance (or COF) of a floor surface, which is crucial in preventing injuries resulting from avoidable slips and falls.
The most common floor slip resistance testing technique around the world is the pendulum test, which involves the use of a pendulum dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) tester to measure the frictional force between the floor surface and a rubber slider. This safety test is considered the most reliable and accurate method for assessing slip resistance for slip and fall prevention both in the lab and in the field. The pendulum has a published test method in at least 50 nations on five continents. The American version of the pendulum COF test is described in ASTM E303, which was just updated in 2022.
Another floor slip testing technique utilizes a drag-sled tester such as the BOT-3000E digital tribometer or Tortus Tribometer. Although instruments such as these can be useful in comparing surfaces and identifying changes in the slip resistance of floors over time due to wear and destructive maintenance practices, for example, these types of machines usually suffer from issues such as stiction (the rubber slider sticks to some, or most, polished and very slippery-when-wet surfaces, giving false readings), which means they should not be relied upon solely to asses the real-world slip resistance of a floor.
The SlipAlert (now known as the iAlert Floor COF tester) has been shown to have high correlation with the pendulum slip resistance tester, it has had a published British Standard test for its use for many years now, and does not suffer from stiction like the previously-mentioned drag-sled meters. The iAlert Tribometer is the ideal floor slip resistance tester for regular on-site COF inspections by your staff because it is incredibly easy to use and gives reliable results. Literally anyone can use it to determine if a floor is slippery or if the slip resistance of a floor is changing over time.
The importance of floor slip resistance testing cannot be overstated. Slip and fall accidents are among the most common causes of injuries in the workplace, and they can also occur in public spaces and homes. The amount of personal injury attorneys who can afford to buy billboards in just about every American city is an indication of just how prevalent life-changing slip and fall injuries are in America. An entire industry of slip and fall “expert liars for hire” has emerged over the past several decades in the USA to help win slip and fall lawsuits by using unreliable and easily-manipulated slip test instruments. By conducting reliable floor slip resistance testing, property owners, architects and building managers can identify potential hazards and take steps to prevent slip and fall accidents from happening.
In addition to preventing accidents, floor slip resistance testing with a reliable device such as the pendulum floor slip tester can also save property owners and managers money in the long run. By identifying potential hazards and taking preventive measures, such as adding slip-resistant floor coatings or not installing slippery flooring materials to begin with, architects and property owners can avoid costly legal battles and insurance claims.
In conclusion, floor slip resistance testing is a crucial process for ensuring safety in public spaces, workplaces, and homes. By utilizing reliable floor slip testing techniques, floor specifiers, property owners and building managers can identify potential hazards and take steps to prevent slip accidents from happening. This, in turn, can save them money in the long run while providing a safe environment for their employees, customers, and visitors.