The widely accepted principle of safety by design, as well as U.S. laws and building codes, require that flooring be slip-resistant over its life cycle — not just at the time of installation. Safety criteria based solely on static coefficient of friction, often used in the U.S. for assessing safety, are too often misleading where flooring gets wet or otherwise lubricated in use.

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  • The widely accepted principle of safety by design, as well as U.S. laws and building codes, require that flooring be slip-resistant over its life cycle — not just at the time of installation. Safety criteria based solely on static coefficient of friction, often used in the U.S. for assessing safety, are too often misleading where flooring gets wet or otherwise lubricated in use. Over 150 safety criteria have been adopted in Germany and Australia for specific situations — swimming pool decks, commercial kitchens, restrooms, etc. These are based on a laboratory test device, the variable-angleramp, that is not readily portable. The pendulum tester is a portable ASTM method, has been used successfully since at least 1971 for assessing pedestrian traction potential, and is a national standard for pedestrian traction in 48 nations on four continents. Abrasion of a flooring sample, tested with the pendulum before and after, is being used to assess “Sustainable Slip Resistance.” Some architects and property owners are now combining this pendulum-based test with situation-specific safety criteria to specify and verify safe flooring. If flooring is in an area where it can get wet or otherwise lubricated (airborne deep-fryer fat, automobile grease, etc.), it needs to be slip-resistant under such conditions. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that flooring accessible to disabled persons be slip resistant — not just when the building is constructed, but throughout its lifetime. Typical building codes in the USA require that "Every existing building, structure, premises or portion thereof shall be maintained in conformity with the code regulations and Department approvals in effect at the time of such construction and occupancy ... Every existing building, structure, or portion thereof shall be maintained in a safe condition and good repair … all physical elements of every existing building, structure or portion thereof shall be maintained … by restorative means, in a condition as close as reasonably feasible to their originally required and approved state." If a building owner can be confident that his or her new flooring will sustain its slip resistance for a period of years this can protect a considerable investment in the flooring and prevent business interruptions as well as protect the safety of the pedestrian. The stakes are even higher for hotels and cruise ships, which are occupied virtually nonstop with guests who will not tolerate the noise involved in changing out hard flooring. Sustainable Slip Resistance (SSR) testing was developed by Strautins in Australia forMcDonald's Restaurants to identify flooring that is not highly susceptible to loss of its slip resistance from wear or some types of inappropriate maintenance. This test and appropriate selection criteria can help avoid investment in inappropriate flooring as well as prevent costly, life-altering accidents and increased healthcare costs. This article explains the method and how it can be used to improve flooring safety in the USA. (en)
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  • The widely accepted principle of safety by design, as well as U.S. laws and building codes, require that flooring be slip-resistant over its life cycle — not just at the time of installation. Safety criteria based solely on static coefficient of friction, often used in the U.S. for assessing safety, are too often misleading where flooring gets wet or otherwise lubricated in use. (en)
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  • Sustainable Slip Resistance (en)
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