Pendulum testing is the most widely used method of testing the slipperiness of pedestrian surfaces and has been adopted throughout the world. The pendulum, mounted on a base, uses a standardised piece of rubber, which is set up to travel across the flooring sample for a few centimetres. When the arm of the pendulum is calibrated to pass above the floor, the arm will swing up to 180 degrees on the other side and the reading will be zero.
Slippery or low-friction flooring produces low readings (e.g. less than 30), while flooring which show higher resistance to slipping result in higher numbers. Surfaces of about 36 and above are deemed suitably slip-resistant, but this will vary according to gradient and if the surface is prone to rain. The pendulum can be used on a variety of surfaces including roads and tarmacs. Different sliders will represent different types of footwear or even having no footwear at all.
The pendulum is also the instrument used in the Sustainable Slip Resistance test method, which measures the possible impact of years of use on a potential flooring’s slip resistance.
Standards Australia HB 197:1999 as well as Standards Australia HB 198:2014 give detailed recommendations/guidelines of minimum wet Pendulum Test Slip Resistance Values for many different situations: e.g. external ramps, 54; external walkways and pedestrian crossings, 45; shopping centre food courts, 35; and elevator lobbies above external entry level may be 25 or less. There are also barefoot area recommendations based on pendulum tests with a soft rubber slider (TRL rubber also known as Slider 55). The Australian recommendations are presently the world’s most detailed standards for pedestrian wet slip resistance.
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Expertise in Action
Experts in pendulum testing can give opinions on how safe surfaces are in the workplace, for both employees and the public entering a retail premises. Experts will be sought in cases of workers compensation claims and public liability insurance claims where falls have taken place, identifying who had the duty of care and responsibility. Common examples include public or hotel showers, the spillage of substances in supermarket aisles, outdoor areas on ships, and footpaths by public swimming pools.
Experts can offer opinions on eliminating the hazard, substituting the flooring with a more slip-resistant surface, isolating the high-risk area, recommending treatments or coatings for flooring, recommending engineering solutions such as improved drainage, and in cases where the surface slipperiness cannot be reduced, recommending warning signs and the use of non-slip footwear.
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