A Significant Step Forward to Reduce Slip and Fall Incidents

A Significant Step Forward to Reduce Slip and Fall Incidents

The first time the manufacturers of flooring materials have standard criteria that they can utilize to identify possible areas of flooring applications in relation to the slip resistance of their flooring products.

ANSI A326.3 is the American National Standard Test Method for Measuring Dynamic Coefficient of Friction of Hard Surface Flooring Materials. The standard was updated recently to include a five category product utilization classification scheme.

Categories of Use

The five categories defined in the ANSI A326.3 allow manufacturers to define the classifications of their products based on the product’s slip resistance properties. The standard also outlines some possibilities of areas of application. We’ve compiled a few of these examples, along with these categories in order to provide a better understanding of the categories:

1. Interior Dry (ID) Examples include malls that are indoor (excepting restaurants) lobby areas of hotels and office buildings, showrooms and interiors of homes without water sources.

2. Interior Wet (IW) IW: For example, entrance foyers and bathrooms for public use (without showers) and grocery stores “front of the house” in casual and fine eating establishments with closed kitchens, and the interiors of homes, which include kitchens and bathrooms.

3. Interior, Wet Plus (IW+):Such as public showers, indoor pool decks storage rooms with covered outdoor areas steam rooms “front of the house” applications in restaurants that have an open kitchen, as well as for “front of the house” applications for quick service, fast-casual and self-service establishments, as well as food zones in gas stations.

4. Exterior, Wet (EW):Such as the level outside living areas comprising decks for pools and walkways, patios, patios and sidewalks

5. Oils and Greases (O/G) Examples include zones that are regularly exposed to automobile liquids “back of the house” fast food restaurants or family-style eateries areas for food preparation with deep-fry or grills or any other area in which grease, oil, or fats could be present.

Reference categories ID and IW are based on DCOF criteria, while reference categories IW+, EW, and O/G, are required to be “manufacturer-declared.” (As an option, the IW category can be manufacturer-declared.) Manufacturers may choose to use either one or more of the categories applicable to a particular product, and will begin defining classifications for their goods in the coming months.

How Categories Are Determined

Manufacturers can determine their product use classifications in multiple ways for the manufacturer-declared categories, including using information based on manufacturing parameters, internal quality control criteria, and their experience with similar surfaces. In addition there is The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Product Performance Testing Laboratory offers various testing techniques that can assist manufacturers to understand the slip resistance properties of their products:

  • A German test for the German Ramp (DIN 51130)
  • It is the British Pendulum test (British Standard 7976 and ASTM E303)
  • The test for the dynamic coefficient of friction (ANSI A326.3)

These tests or the combination of these tests, when combined with their internal quality control production parameters, as well as familiarity with similar surfaces help manufacturers determine the appropriate classifications for their products.

Significance for Consumer Safety

ANSI A326.3 offers DCOF specification, products usage classifications, and guidelines for the selection of flooring materials for hard surfaces. It is designed for a broad spectrum of users, which ranges from general public, to designers, manufacturers and architects. This straightforward classification system is a crucial move towards more precise specifications for flooring. In addition, the accessibility of this information on the use of the product on the market will result in better specifications, which will result in a decrease in slip-related events. This is important for consumers’ security.

“This revision to A326.3, resulting from years of testing, research, and consensus-building, represents perhaps the most significant slip/fall communications advancement in the flooring industry since the 1950’s when standards were proposed to measure the frictional properties of flooring.”

-Bill Griese, Director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives, Tile Council of North America