Slip resistance testing is vital for ensuring the safety of your sports hall floor. But how can you measure the slip resistance of your floor and why is it so important? Keep reading to find out!
What is slip resistance testing?
Slip resistance testing is a method used to calculate the frictional resistance of a surface. This is often carried out on sports hall flooring to ensure it is safe and appropriate for sporting use. Tests can also be carried out to measure the surface resistance in different conditions: such as wet and dry surfaces. This is useful when considering areas that may become wet or oily, such as swimming pools or kitchens. It could also be beneficial to understand how the friction is affected in sports halls when they become wet, e.g. if water is spilt or high-intensity sport leads to sweating. Slip resistance testing should be carried out at least once a year to ensure the surface is safe for use and avoid the risk of injury.
What are the different types of slip resistance tests?
The main slip resistance test used in the UK is the Pendulum Slip Resistance Test. This is the only procedure to be recognised by both the Health and Safety Executive and UK law. Other forms of slip resistance tests can be carried out, however, the Pendulum test is the one we provide here at Courtship Flooring as part of our maintenance services.
The Pendulum Slip Resistance Test (BS7976)
The Pendulum test imitates the action of a foot walking on the surface. This test is portable, so it can be used both on-site and in labs when developing flooring. It works by operating a swinging arm that brushes over the floor’s surface. A rubber slider is at the end of the arm, which sweeps over the floor at a set distance. The arm will slow down upon passing over the floor’s surface due to friction. This friction is measured using an attached pointer. A Pendulum Test Value (PTV) will then be established. This PTV could fall into one of three categories:
- High: 0-24
- Moderate: 25-35
- Low: 36+
The higher the number, the lower the risk of slipping. For the surface to pass as safe by Health and Safety Executive, it must fall into the ‘low’ category. The slider can be adjusted to imitate different footwear, including barefoot and rubber-soled shoes (trainers). This means the floor can be assessed for different sports.
The Shod Ramp Test
Although the Pendulum test is best from a legal point of view, there are other tests out there. One of these tests is the Shod Ramp Test. In this test, a harnessed operator will walk on a lubricated ramp. The ramp’s angle will be gradually increased while notes are taken when the operator slips. After multiple tests, the average angle can be determined (known as the ‘R’ rating). This will establish what the surface is suitable for. These ratings are categorised by number (e.g. R1, R2, R3, etc.).
The Barefoot Ramp Test
Similar to the Shod Ramp Test, the Barefoot Ramp Test uses a ramp and an operator to calculate an average angle. However, water is used as the lubricant and the operator is barefoot. Instead of numbered categories, these angles are placed in lettered categories (A, B, or C).
Why should you carry out slip resistance tests?
Floors should be annually tested to assess their slip resistance levels. This is to ensure that they are fit for purpose. If these tests aren’t carried out, the responsible person could be liable in the event of a slip-related injury. Of course, there is still a risk of injury even after slip resistance testing, however, having the test carried out could save you from legal charges.
Especially with sports hall floorings, it is important that your flooring is seen as fit for sporting use. For example, sports with rapid floor movement, such as basketball and tennis, should be accommodated. The friction level should be low enough to ensure agile movement while being high enough to prevent slipping and potential injury.
Here at Courtship Flooring, we can customise your sports hall flooring 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 visit our contact page.