FloorSlip Ltd – Head Office -
UK Specialists in H&S Approved Floor Pendulum Testing for Businesses and Expert Witness Services for Slip Injury Lawyers
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So what exactly is a Floor ‘R Rating’? The R9 to R13 Rating for Shod Feet (and an ABC Rating for Bare Feet) are values that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), architects, floor specifiers, builders and YOU can use to determine the ‘slip resistance’ of a surface before purchasing flooring.
These R ratings relate to the typically non portable DIN Standard* Floor RAMP Test (the ‘R’ relates to the ‘R’ in Ramp Test). The Ramp Test works by a specific floor type to be tested being fixed to a ramp and oil (For Shod Feet) is applied to the ramp. The ramp is then raised and the human test subject walks in small steps backwards and forwards wearing boots until they slip on the floor (the tester is attached to a safety harness to prevent slip injury). The computerised readout then determines the R ratings based on the angle of slip. Note -
Could I have a Ramp Test carried out?
1. The test is VERY expensive
2. The test is specific to a floor surface and is intended more for floor manufacturers than the every day floors found in the workplace, shops, hotels, airports, swimming pools etc.
3. The Ramp Test arrives at a ‘range of result’s and is not particularly specific if you are trying to exactly judge existing floors fitted or to determine if new floor samples are suitable. If you really need a ramp test then we can advise further -
The alternative to Ramp Testing and much more affordable is the portable On Site Floor Pendulum Test on site or via Off site Floor Sample Testing. The British Standard and HSE approved Pendulum test will give an effective and specific read across to the ‘range’ of R Values testing to determine equivalent R ratings (See table below). And the floor testing prices start from just £147
The ramp can also be used to assess floors for predominantly wet environments such as swimming pools or showers and an ‘ABC’ floor slip Rating is given. The test subject does the ramp test but in Bare feet and water only is applied to the surface as a contaminant. The LOWEST floor slip resistance Rating is A, the HIGHEST and best is C.
A very good short video (1 minute) explaining the ramp test can be found here, the video has English Subtitles -
Things to Consider in respect to Floor R Ratings
Floors Wear -
Do NOT trust what R Rating is written on the box or specification leaflet. Flooring is manufactured in batches and the PTV for the same R Rating can vary widely in a batch -
Allow extra PTV for Slopes -
Have floors Pendulum Tested as soon as the contractors start to lay them -
YES you can -
’R’ Ratings for SHOD FEET must conform to DIN 51130
* DIN is the equivalent to British Standards in the UK and is an accepted standard in the UK DIN stands for 'Deutsches Institut für Normung' or German Institute of Standardisation. It is the standard by which floor designers and architects must specify to in some countries to conform with building regulations and to offset possible accident injury
’ABC’ Ratings for BARE FEET must conform to DIN 51097. ABC Ratings are used for wet floor conditions where bare feet are the norm such as saunas, Jacuzzis, public showers, swimming pools etc.
Be wary when purchasing floors, especially in high footfall areas. Floor surfaces such as natural stone and matt in finish will have a high R Rating and high resistance to wear. But many man made flooring types such as Vinyl's and linoleum etc may initially have a reasonable R Rating but that floor R rating can, in some cases, especially at door entrances and corridors, be diminished through wear and within months. A 50% decrease in PTV is not uncommon so try aim at a high R Rating from the outset. If you have any doubts, then contact FloorSlip and we can Pendulum Test your floors to check for wear
FloorSlip have tested many flooring types using the HSE approved Pendulum Test and found large differences between the floor samples we test and the ‘supposed’ R Ratings; the largest quantity are foreign imports which account for many UK tiles sold. Pendulum Test Values (PTV) of 40+ have been advertised when when the floor surface was wet -
In general, for shod environments, a minimum of R12 is recommended on a horizontal surface where the surface is ‘likely’ to become wet. However it is suggested to always use R12 to R13 on any floor slope for a SHOD Environment and a floor bare foot ‘C’ rating where slopes are evident in predominantly wet environments like swimming pools or showers. For floors likely to suffer from High Wear, pick the highest R Rating you can find.
The HSE expects that a floor surface will be Pendulum Tested and achieve a MINIMUM of 36 PTV when WET (Or Contaminated). But it will be evident from the Floor R Rating tables above that the R9 and R10 NEVER manage to achieve 36 PTV (Pendulum Test Value) and R11 has a range that starts at 34 PTV. Unfortunately, when manufacturers supply tiles, they may only state an ‘R value’ and no PTV Value which makes it very difficult to determine if the floor will be safe for the purpose intended of it….As a general rule of thumb when considering floors, the harder, smoother and ‘shinier’ the floors surface (For example a marble floor) the better the slip resistance when dry but far worse when wet or contaminated. Whereas a matt, rough or textured surface such as those found in kitchens and changing rooms will be lower pendulum test value when Dry but far better floor slip value when wet
4. How can I determine the floor I select with a rating of R11 or R12 will be suitable for my flooring application?
If the floor you select is an R11 floor slip resistance rating but no PTV is stated then we would suggest you get a sample of the floor tested. The floor sample testing starts from just £147 and this is a very small outlay to pay if your total outlay will be many thousands of Pounds, Euros or Dollars. FloorSlip conduct Floor Sample Testing across the world, all that is required is a sample measuring a minimum of 150mm x 150mm to be posted to our floor testing centres in the UK -
5. My Floor is DRY ‘most the time’, why do I need a floor to meet WET conditions?
Please DO NOT think the floor will always be dry. A spill from a cup of coffee or even a squashed grape will cause a slip and a slip injury claim. For example.... Costa Coffee were fined £5 Million ($7.5 Million) in Dec 2011 for a slip injury claim after a Customer slipped on spilt coffee and hurt themselves….Don’t let that business be yours -
Friction is the resistive force to motion and is generally defined as ‘that force that acts between two bodies so as to resist their sliding over one another’. A floor with a high friction capability will provide enough ‘grip’ in most circumstances to prevent a person falling and the HSE / HSL has determined a ‘LOW probability of slipping on a floor’ rated at a minimum Slip Resistance Value (SRV) of 0.36 coefficient of friction (COF) is 1 in 1 million. That figure rapidly reduces though below the SRV of 36 as the HSE / HSL derived table below shows.
For ease of understanding 0.36 COF or SRV is the same as 36 PTV or Pendulum Test Value
Cefficient of Friction between foot and floor =
= Between 0.36 and 0.40 (x 100) = Pendulum Test Value of 36 1 in 1,000,000 Low Risk of Slip
= Between 0.34 and 0.38 (x 100) = Pendulum Test Value of 34 1 in 100,000 Moderate Risk
= Between 0.29 and 0.34 (x 100) = Pendulum Test Value of 29 1 in 10,000 Moderate Risk
= Between 0.27 and 0.32 (x 100) = Pendulum Test Value of 27 1 in 200 Moderate Risk
= Between 0.24 and 0.29 (x 100) = Pendulum Test Value of 24 1 in 20 High Risk
The simple graph below portrays the probability of slip as an exponential graph; values determined by PW Pye and HW Harrison in Floors and Flooring Performance -