Floor slip resistance testing is the science of measuring the coefficient of friction (or resistance to slip accidents) of flooring surfaces, either in a laboratory (before or after installation) or on floors in situ. Slip resistance testing (or floor friction testing) is usually desired by the building’s owner or manager when there has been a report of a slip and fall accident, when there has been a report of a near accident, or (preferably) before the flooring is installed on the property. Flooring is tested using a tribometer (floor slip resistance tester) to discover if there is a high propensity for slip and fall accidents on it, either dry and/or (most often) when wet with water or lubricated with other contaminants such as kitchen grease, hydraulic oil, etc. There have been numerous floor slip resistance testing tribometers and lab devices produced around the world to measure both the static (stationary) and dynamic (in motion) coefficient of friction, but presently there are only a few that have been proven to be reliable for obtaining useful safety results and that have current official test methods.
To assess a floor’s slip resistance, a reliable, thoroughly researched (in interlaboratory studies) floor friction test method must be used, and then a minimum safety criterion (0.43, 0.60, 36, etc.) is needed to apply to the results. If the floor is likely to be lubricated with water or grease in use, it needs to be anti-slip under these expected conditions. Floor slip resistance testing can be carried out dry, wet with water, or lubricated with oils and other contaminants. Dry slip resistance is not an indicator of wet slip resistance — in fact the two often vary inversely — so reliable wet slip resistance testing is often needed as well as reliable dry testing.
The R ratings
These R / ABC ratings relate to the very expensive and non portable DIN Standard* floor RAMP test (though the portable Floor Pendulum Test does allow testing to determine equivalent ratings) the ‘R’ relates to the ‘R’ in Ramp Test. The floor type to be tested is fixed to a ramp and oil (For Shod Feet). The ramp is then raised and the test subject walks backwards and forwards wearing boots slips on the floor (the tester is attached to a safety harness to prevent slip injury). The computerised readout then determines the R ratings based on the angle of slip.