There are a number of different test methods recognised by the Australian Standard for slip resistance 4586:2013. The most recognised is probably the ramp test with its R ratings results – R9, R10 etc.
Metz recommend the Wet Pendulum Test as broadly being the most effective method, due mainly to the high likelihood of this test method being used to evaluate the suitability of a design selection after installation. The pendulum test is portable and therefore the test of choice for any forensic testing on site, which can be critical if there has been a slip incident.
Test results achieved by different test methods have no direct correlation. Generally higher results achieved via one test method, will typically achieve higher results on other tests.
A product that is believed suitable following one test type being carried out, may prove unsuitable following a different test type being conducted.
The Australian Standards for slip resistance ONLY describe how to perform a slip resistance test by one of the 5 methods of measurement, therefore the inclusion of a general statement such as “slip resistance to comply with AS4586” is of no prescriptive value.
Standards Australia does publish slip resistance handbooks HB:197 & HB:198, to provide guidance as to how much slip resistance is a minimum requirement for various applications. A design that did not comply with these handbook minimums will leave the parties involved vulnerable to a litigation should a slip incident occur. Insurers take a dim view of attempting to defend a slip accident compensation claim on a pedestrian floor surface that was below handbook minimums.
Costs can be significant and payouts of tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars have occurred with courts prepared do award large sums for costs, pain and suffering and consequential losses. For designers and specifiers the impacts on commercial insurances such as Professional Indemnity Insurance can be alarming with the increases in premiums, excess deductions, limitations and even exclusions.
Of course these are the financial incentives to getting slip resistant design and testing right, the human dimension is the very real misery, pain and suffering which is believed to account for the need for one million (1,000,000) hospital bed/days in Australia – every year.
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