The risk assessment process in the beginning was a fairly simple process; if the surface achieved a Coefficient of Friction (CoF) or 0.40 or greater then the surface was considered to be safe.
The slip resistance testing was conducted with the Tortus Floor Friction Tester (FFT) o similar in dry conditions and the pendulum friction tester in wet conditions. The slip testing was outlined within Australian & New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 3661.1 Slip resistance of pedestrian surfaces – Requirements. This standard was introduced in 1993.
Changes from Universal Threshold to Risk Management
The assessment of slip resistance changed significantly in 1999 when the Australian Standards Committee BD-094 Slip Resistance of Flooring Surfaces, revised AS/NZS 3661.1 A risk management approach was taken and the notion that there is a universal minimum threshold of safety (i.e. Coefficient of Friction of 0.40) was rejected. Factors such as the activity being undertaken, lighting the specific location and likely contaminants, as well as cleaning and maintenance procedures were identified as significant factors to assess.
The New Slip Assessment Method
This new approach of slip assessment services was outlined within CSIRO and Standards Australia joint publication HB 197 An introductory guide to the slip resistance of pedestrian surface materials. The document HB 197 provides recommended slip resistance ratings for s number of locations within a building when tested to AS/NZS 4586 Slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surface materials. Along with the wet pendulum and dry FFT, two other test methods were introduced to be able make a more accurate assessment of wet barefoot areas and oil contaminated industrial floors.
Risk Management of Onsite Slip Assessment Services
In 2002, the Australian and New Zealand Standards committee published a specific testing standard for existing floors, AS/NZS 4663 Slip resistance measurement of existing surfaces. The slip testing method provided a notional risk assessment that was commonly used for both wet and dry conditions.
Dry test results with a Coefficient of Friction less than 0.40 obtained a slip assessment of high to very high and for a Coefficient of Friction greater than 0.40 the slip assessment of moderate to very low. The slip assessment however needs to be viewed as a notional contribution of the floor surface to the risk of slipping.
In wet conditions using the pendulum friction tester, the slip assessment of surfaces below a British Pendulum Number (BPN) of less than 25 was very high, 25 – 34 as high, 35 – 44 moderate, 45 – 54 as low and 55 or greater as very low. Once again the slip assessment was a notional contribution to the risk of slipping and other factors also need to be considered to assess the actual risk of someone slipping.
For more information on how Safe Environment Slip Check Slip Assesment Services can assist, please contact our Sydney or Melbourne office listed below:
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