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Safe Environments' concerns on R rating slip test

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During the handover stage of a newly constructed commercial shop in the northern suburbs of Sydney, an onsite slip test identified that the ceramic tiles installed within the tenancy did not meet the minimum slip resistance recommendations of Standards Australia & CSIRO Handbook HB 197.

The ceramic tiles had initially been selected as they achieved a ramp slip test rating of R12. A slip test was then conducted onsite to confirm that the surface meets council requirements; however the surface only achieved Pendulum Class Z, the pendulum slip test classification.

What initially had been thought to be a safe floor based on the R rating slip test was confirmed to be considered a risk, based on the wet pendulum slip test. To rectify the situation, the slip resistance of the surface was increased using an anti slip treatment which has added considerable cost to the initial ceramic tile installation.

This situation may have been alleviated by obtaining wet pendulum slip test results to AS/NZS 4586 Slip resistance classification of pedestrian surface materials. An accelerated wear slip test would also assist to provide a useful indicator of the potential drop in slip resistance over time.

According to Safe Environments , the differences between the R rating slip test and wet pendulum slip test is the interacting surfaces and the liquid medium within the system. It seems sensible that a slip test should be used to simulate the intended conditions for normal usage in terms of the contaminant likely to be present and the footwear intended to be worn. For example, the wet pendulum slip test using water and a flat rubber slider is more appropriate for most public common areas, where the most likely contaminant is water and many people will be wearing shoes that may have a hard soling compound and a worn tread pattern.

The oil wet ramp slip test (R Classification), which uses safety boots with large volumetric tread pattern and high viscosity motor oil, seems to be of little relevance for normal conditions (that the general public will normally encounter). Additionally, the ramp slip test cannot be used in situ, thus can only be used to evaluate the selection of proposed floor surfaces. If there is a dispute regarding an installed surface or an incident occurs, only the pendulum slip test and dry FFT slip test can confirm the onsite performance.

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