If you manufacture floor products of any kind – flooring, bathtubs, or coatings – then you are likely to be asked for national industry standard slip testing floor experts to show traction levels. These requests come from architects, floor specifiers, building owners, and even insurers. If you are unable to meet their requirements, then they will likely use the power of the law against your company in a lawsuit.
If the courts are involved, then you will need to hire a professional who understands the complexities of the legal process. They should be able to provide an impartial report that meets the standards set out in CPR 35 (Civil Procedure Rules). The best way to prove this is by using tried and tested methods up to BS EN-16165 and the UKSRG* guidelines on floor slip injury claims.
The most accurate method of assessing a floor’s slip resistance is by using a pendulum DCOF tester. This is the same type of test that is used in laboratories for slip forensic engineering and tribometer lab tests. A pendulum DCOF tester is a simple device that has standardized rubber on the bottom of the arm, it is dropped onto the surface of the test sample and the arm swings down, touches the flooring surface, then backs up to give you a DCOF (coefficient of friction) reading. The more the rubber contacts the floor, the higher the DCOF value.
There are many other ways to measure a floor’s slip resistance, but most of them are less accurate than the pendulum DCOF tester. One of the most popular is to use a Brungraber tester. However, the Brungraber machine is not capable of making a reasonable precision statement and the results can vary significantly from person to person. As a result, the Brungraber device has been called a “fraudulent instrument” by people who are experts in proving fraud in court.
Another commonly used method is the German Ramp Test (DIN 51130). The ramp is covered with motor oil and a person wearing standard footwear walks across it. The tester then records the R rating that is achieved for a particular flooring material (R9 being the most slippery). This test method is expensive, can only be performed in a laboratory, and doesn’t really test a typical pedestrian condition like the British Pendulum Tester does.
The UKSRG* guidelines and the new BS EN-16165 are the most comprehensive documentation on assessing floor slip risk. They cover not only the HSE’s operator guidelines on floor slip injury claims but also the cleaning routines, environmental factors, and any accidents declared. An expert witness should be able to clearly explain these facts in an impartial CPR 35 compliant report. This could include a fully conducted BS EN-16165 Pendulum Test, along with any other tests as required by the courts.