It’s important that all sports hall flooring goes through a slip resistance test to ensure the safety of every user. In the UK, the Pendulum test is used to establish the safety of any surface; this was originally developed by the National Bureau of Standards in the 1940s.
What is the Pendulum Slip Resistance Test?
The Pendulum Test is used to assess the level of friction present when a foot comes into contact with a surface. It can measure the potential slip hazard on wet, dry and contaminated flooring. This test is used by authorities, insurance providers and lawyers to prove that the floor is safe for use.
It works by operating a swinging arm that sweeps over the floor surface. A rubber slider is at the end of the arm, which passes over the floor at a predetermined distance. The arm is released and will slow down upon passing over the floor’s surface due to friction. The friction is measured using a pointer that is attached to the Pendulum. When the Pendulum is swung, it will show a Pendulum Test Value (PTV). There are three categories this PTV could fall into:
These numbers are relative to the level of slip risk, i.e. the higher the number, the lower the risk. A PTV of 19 gives an accident risk of 1 in 2, making it high risk. To be passed as safe by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the test results must fall into the low-risk category (36 and above).
There is also the option to use a standard slider. These are designed to replicate either a pedestrian wearing footwear (slider 96), or barefoot (slider 55). These sliders are beneficial for sports hall flooring as the floor can be assessed for trainer sports such as squash, or barefoot sports such as gymnastics.
Are there any other ways of testing slip resistance?
The Pendulum Slip Resistance Test may be accepted by the HSE, but it’s not the only slip resistance test out there. There is also the Shod Ramp Test and the Barefoot Ramp Test.
The Shod Ramp Test uses a ramp, lubricated with oil, that is gradually adjusted in terms of its angle. An operator wearing a harness will walk on the ramp, and it will be noted when they slip. The average angle is determined after multiple tests to create an ‘R’ rating, which is used to establish what the surface can safely be used for. For example, a floor with a rating of R13 can safely be used in areas where the floor may often become wet, such as outdoor steps or swimming pool surrounds. A floor with a rating of R9 should be used in indoor areas where there is minimal wetting on the surface, such as hallways or commercial spaces.
The Barefoot Ramp Test is similar to the Shod Ramp Test, however, water is used as the lubricant and the operator is barefoot. The angles achieved before the operator slips are categorised into a lettering system: A, B or C. Surfaces with a C rating can be used on swimming pool ramps or steps, and surfaces with an A rating are suitable for communal changing rooms.
Why is slip resistance testing important?
Slip resistance testing is crucial for ensuring the safety of those using the floor. In terms of sports hall flooring, it is especially important to make sure your flooring is suitable to be used for sports with rapid foot movements such as basketball or tennis. The floor needs to be smooth enough for agile movement, but not so smooth that players will slip and potentially injure themselves.
Not only is slip resistance testing good practice, but it is also a legal requirement for many public spaces. If your flooring does not achieve a PTV of at least 36, you could be liable for increased accident risk. Which can result in a fine under the health and safety sentencing guidelines.
At Courtship Flooring, all of our indoor sports hall floorings can be customised to fit the sport or purpose. We ensure that all of our floorings are safe for use. Get in touch with us today to enquire about your sports hall flooring installation. Give us a call on 01823 674562 or by visiting our contact page.