Thursday, July 17, 2014

Safety First - Slip Resistance Testing

 Did you know that falling accounts for almost 9 million emergency room visits each year (NSC Injury Facts 2011)? The last thing anyone wants to hear is that their bathtub, shower or tile could have been involved in an accident resulting in serious injuries, or even death. Slip resistance testing is an important step to take to ensure the safety of your consumers, and protect yourself from costly lawsuits.
 Slip resistance testing measures the force needed to move one surface over another, and the difference between the two surfaces, providing you with a numerical ‘grade’ – called a Coefficient of Friction (COF).  However, there are two types of COF, static and dynamic. The static COF is the resistance opposing the force required to begin movement of the foot relative to the walking surface.  Maintaining the movement determines the dynamic COF. This can then be used to determine how slip resistant your bathing facilities are. The minimum static COF that is considered safe without extreme caution on the part of the bather is specified as 0.04 by ASTM F462.
 The static COF’s is measured by a test instrument that creates, as closely as possible, the motions of the foot at the introduction of slip. One such instrument is the NIST Brungraber, pictured here: 

The NIST Brungraber is a portable articulated strut tester (PAST) and is used to test in accordance with ASTM F462 and ASTM F1678. ASTM F462 is the specification which establishes definitions, methods of testing the slip resistance and the in-use performance requirements needed to minimize the accidents which can be caused by a slippery
ASTM F1678 covers the procedures for using a PAST to determine the slip resistance of footwear sole, heel, or other materials against walkway surfaces.
 Slip resistance testing shouldn’t be a ‘one time’ thing, either. Periodic monitoring of your bathing facilities’ slip resistance can save millions down the road by reducing slip and fall claims. Make the decision tocontact NTA today to have your bathing facility surfaces tested and protect yourself AND your consumers.

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