During construction of any building, pendulum slip testing is mandatory for a number of reasons. The primary reason is o avoid accidents that will arise out of slipping. In the United Kingdom, one of the leading causes of hospitalization of patients is falling due to slipping on slippery floors. In Australia, there are upwards of 100 hospital stay days per year, and that is quite a significant number.
Accidents that are caused by skidding, slipping and falling will be the highest through the life of any building. Slip resistance testing should be conducted to ensure that a building has floors that will resist slipping and be safe. There are flooring products with labels that display slip resistance testing results which may be erroneous. The designer may have put the flooring product through a slip test, but did not do the right one and the product ends up causing accidents.
Slip Testing for flooring products
Designers need to understand that the pendulum friction test is a vital part of the design process. The product has to be put through the test and then changes suggested if they need to be implanted. If the flooring is safe, then it will be passed as it is. A single law suit can cause huge losses to designers who do not undertake proper testing of their flooring products.
The flooring products have to be tested for use in various parts of the building and under different conditions. The main testing categories are as follows:
• Normal condition – as it would be on a normal day
• Wet condition – as it would be when the cleaning crew is working
• Incline test – also known as the Ramp Test, it tests how slippery the flooring can get when on an incline (both dry and wet)
• Oil test – this tests how slippery the material would should there be the accidental spillage of oil or detergent
That said, the material that is used on normal pedestrian walkways in a building undergo the first two tests for how slippery they would be under dry and wet conditions.
Slip testing and its other applications
Slip testing is not only good for the safety of pedestrians; it is also useful to the designer or manufacturer. After being put through the full testing range, a material may be found to be unsafe under wet conditions, and will therefore be unsuitable for floors that are mostly wet during the day. E.g. the floors found in an abattoir. These tests also guide designers on what they should change to make their product universal. So apart from protecting building contractors and managers from law suits brought about by accidents, the tests also act as a design guide.
Slip resistance testing is a process that should be a requirement in the housing and construction industry. Homes and offices should have flooring material that will promote safe walking on the surface of the floor. Some accidents and consequent law suits are totally avoidable if proper testing is done right from the manufacturing stage.