Wet barefoot inclining platform test (AS 4586 Appendix C) is a test to assess the slip resistance of situations where people will likely be barefoot and subjected to wet water surfaces, such as swimming pool surrounds and the like.
The floor safety standard for testing new floor surfaces is AS 4586 with the wet barefoot inclining platform test being listed as Appendix C and provides us with the A, B and C Quality Group or Classifications .
How is the wet barefoot inclining platform slip test conducted ?
Our principle materials scientist Mr Carl Strautins often reflects in presentations as to on how enjoyable this floor test is.
“My first day at CSIRO was interesting when at morning tea time we placed our feet in a foot spa, read the paper and drank a cup of coffee. We were getting paid for this as it is preparation for the test.”
By soaking feet in a foot spa for 15 minutes, this softened the skin it provide a consistent test foot. The softening of the skin generally makes the foot a bit more slippery. The test is conducted with two people are attached to a harness who walk on a test panel. The test panel is then inclined with the test personnel walking backwards and forwards at a specific walking pace, looking down and keeping an upright posture. If this is conducted twice without the test personnel slipping, then the platform is increased and the test is repeated. When the test personnel slip, then they repeat to confirm the slip, and measure the angle at which they slipped. This angle or gradient is averaged between the two test personnel, and then compared with previously calibrated panels to confirm the classification.
What about variability of the barefoot inclining ramp test
There are also three calibration or verification panels, which have been previously slip tested on the to then compare against the test panel. one important factor in relation to the barefoot ramp slip test is to remember that the angle that is reported, should not be interpreted that is safe to use of ramps up to that amount. The barefoot ramp slip test is used as a slip resistance test method to differentiate between surfaces, not as an absolute measure of floor safety.
What floors should I be using this test to assess the slip resistance ?
The barefoot inclining platform test when tested to AS 4586 Appendix C is used to assess the slip resistance of floors where people will mostly be barefoot. This includes areas such as swimming pool surrounds, stairs leading into pools, changing rooms, shower rooms, hydrotherapy pools, accessible bathrooms, and the like. When assessing what type of classification is required for a floor, first determine which contaminants and the likely footwear that is likely to be worn to then determine the most appropriate slip test.
Assessing floor safety of barefoot areas after installation
One of the major challenges with the inclining platform slip tests is that once the floor has been installed it cannot be tested again in its current state. In large litigation court cases tiles have been removed from site and then tested in the laboratory; however this is not practical. When assessing the slip resistance onsite, the wet pendulum test method is preferable to be used with TRL slider material, showing reasonable correlation.
Best practice is to then conduct barefoot ramp testing and the wet pendulum with TRL (slider 55). Then then provides a baseline test prior to installation and then onsite the pendulum slip test will then be able to detect significant changes over time. It is recommended that slip testing onsite every three months for the first year and then to reduce the number of tests as the inevitable reduction stabilises. It is also critical to record any slip related incidents to determine if any remedial action is required.
For more information of the wet barefoot ramp ratings and testing of ceramic tiles, stone, vinyl and other flooring surfaces, please contact us at Slip Check to help guide you through the process.
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