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ASTM STANDARDS, ADA COMPLIANCE and Static Coefficient of Friction (COF) versus the (United Kingdom) BS EN standards for Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (COF)

Introduction to (US) ASTMD Standards

On occasion, FloorSlip are asked to conduct Floor Testing to meet some or all American criteria for Static Coefficient of Friction (COF) for floor testing. Organisations / information / guidelines  providing this type of detail include the:-

- American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTMD) (http://www.astm.org)

- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA compliance)

- The ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG)

FloorSlip will NOT undertake the American method of testing for the reasons discussed below...

First, let's understand how the two different floor tests work.

How the US Static Coefficient of Friction works

The American Static COF testing uses a weight of a known size dragged across a floor in the DRY using horizontal dynamometer pull meter. The amount of force required to drag it is supposed to then inform the floor tester of the Static Coefficient of Friction; or more simply put "how resistant to slips the floor is to prevent an object being pulled from its position when the floor is dry

ASTM C1028 refers to the method using a horizontal dynamometer pull meter

See http://www.astm.org/Standards/C1028.htm

The floor test readings expected are


Normal walking      = 0.5   (Equates to a PTV of 50 [Pendulum Test Value] )

Shod or barefoot

Persons with disabilities  = 0.6   (Equates to a PTV of 60)

For accessible routes   

Persons with disabilities  = 0.8   (Equates to a PTV of 80)

For ramps

*The PTV or ‘Pendulum Test Value’ equals COF x 100; for example a COF of 0.5 x 100 = a PTV of 50.  

How the UK Dynamic Floor Testing (Pendulum Testing) works

The UK HSE / HSL recommend the 'Dynamic; floor 'Pendulum Test'* as the preferred and recognised method for floor testing.

*Also known and referred to in the United States as the 'British Pendulum'; (A device originally developed by the American  Percy Sigler and modified for dynamic floor testing by the British).

The test is conducted to BS 7976-2.  Equipment built / manufactured and calibrated to BS 7976-1 and -3 / BS (EN) 13036-4:2011.

The test arm is Pendulum Arm of known weight and length swung across a floor surface at known measured and calibrated distance to test the moving or 'Dynamic' interaction between the heel material and the floor surface. On contact with the floor the rubber 'slider' of a specific rubber type and size mounted on a spring loaded foot slides across the floor; the distance it travels past its contact point determines how much resistance there is to prevent the course of it travel; the further it travels, the less resistance and the more slippery is the floor surface.

The minimum floor Pendulum Test Value (PTV) readings expected are in WET, DRY or CONTAMINATED: -


Normal walking    = 36   (Equates to a COF of 0.36)

Shod or barefoot

On Road Surfaces  = 40    (Equates to a COF of 0.40)

On slopes   = An additional PTV of 2 for every 1 degree of slope over         and above the PTV 36 threshold

Why do the UK prefer and the HSE / HSL recommend the Dynamic COF Test?

Also - as simple rule of thumb - The shinier / smoother the floor finish then the better the slip resistance when Dry - but far worse when wet. The American standards expect a higher Static COF for disabled persons - BUT, it’s highly possible that the higher value when DRY relates to worse conditions when WET as the Dynamic pendulum Test clearly demonstrates

It should also be noted that the more matt the finish is and particularly where a profile is evident on the floor surface, then the more likely it is that the PTV will be lower when Dry but far better when Wet / Contaminated. The US standards would penalise a low value COF reading les than 0.4 (PTV of 40) but in our experience, the lower the value when DRY then better when WET

The following table shows this  - the following test results being quite typical: -

CONCLUSIONS - ASTM Standards v BS Standards

1. The UK HSE expect and only recognise the Dynamic Floor Pendulum Test and have reservations about Static Floor Tests

2. Only the Dynamic Test is recognised in a UK Court of law and is the only test that can accurately show the state of floor slip resistance and imitate heel slip in WET, DRY and CONTAMINATED conditions and produce accurate and repeatable test results

NOTE WELL - It might be assumed, and wrongly, that a static value of 0.5 to 0.8 should be higher than a dynamic value of 0.36; this assumption is often arrived at. The two test values CAN NOT AND SHOULD NOT BE COMPARED, they are totally different criteria and even attempting to relate the two types is fraught with inaccuracies.

The HSE / HSL has indicated a PTV of 36 (COF or 0.36) will reduce the probability of slip to 1 in 1 million and is the minimum value the HSE / HSL expect to see. Go to Slip Risk Probability to read more


Static Test

Dynamic Test

Testing for Heel Slip

Cannot accurately imitate the action of a heel passing across a floor to effectively demonstrate a floors ability to prevent slips

The 'Dynamic' Test can. (Reported by several studies including the HSL (UK Health and Safety Laboratories and Europe's largest H&S Testing laboratories) 

Testing in the Wet

Cannot test in the wet

Can effectively test for wet conditions and produce repeatable consistent results. The HSE/HSL has reported , through tests and research 90% of all floor slips occur in the wet

Testing in contaminated conditions

Cannot test for contaminated conditions

Can effectively test for contaminated conditions and produce repeatable consistent results and for any dry or wet contaminant 

Testing for Different Rubber Hardness

Does not test for different rubber hardness

Can test using different calibrated  rubber sliders with different rubber hardness for smooth shod, cleated shod (work boots), road and pavement and bare foot conditions

Floor Type

COF Reading when floor is DRY

COF Reading when floor is WET with Tap Water

COF Reading when floor is CONTAMINATED - for example with Cooking Oil

Shiny Polished Terrazzo Marble 

0.75 - 0.85 (PTV of 75 - 85)

0.01 - 15 (PTV of 10 - 15)

Smooth Matt Floor Tile

0.5 to 0.6 (PTV of 50 to 60)

0.25 - 0.40 (PTV of 25 - 40)

Rough Matt Floor Tile

0.45 to 0.55 (PTV of 45 to 55)

0.40 - 0.50 (PTV of 40 - 50)

American Floor Test Standards versus British Floor Testing Standards