A discussion of current non-slip standards

The OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910 Subpart D is the standard that discusses non-slip walking surfaces. According to Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention by Steven Di Pilla
“OSHA refers to four separate slip resistance standards, each promulgated at different times and with varying degrees of enforceability.”
Just like all governmental regulations these Standards are in a state of constant change and evolution, however we reviewed all of the references to nonslip and made sure that our nonslip products meet the intent of the Standards and the specific requirements discussed. The most specific “standard” cited by OSHA is in Appendix A to Subpart D — Compliance Guidelines which is called a “nonmandatory” appendix. In this appendix section 2. Slip Resistance. It states:
“2. Slip-resistance. A reasonable measure of slip-resistance is static coefficient of friction (COF). A COF of 0.5, which is based upon studies by the University of Michigan and reported in “Work Surface Friction: Definitions, Laboratory and Field Measurements, and a Comprehensive Bibliography,” is recommended as a guide to achieve proper slip-resistance. A COF of 0.5 is not intended to be an absolute standard value. A higher COF may be necessary for certain work tasks, such as carrying objects, pushing or pulling objects, or walking up or down ramps.”

In addition there are two other sources that are used when evaluating nonslip surfaces, these are ANSI/NFSI and the ADA. Here are the guidelines that each has issued.
ANSI/NFSI (American National Standards Institute/National Floor Safety Institute)
NSFI – B101 and ANSI 1264 establish traction standards and methods for measuring the SCOF. The Standards are established as follows:
• High-Traction (SCOF of 0.6+)
• Moderate Traction (SCOF of 0.4 – 0.6)
• Low Traction (SCOF of <0.4)
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
The ADA discusses ground and floor surfaces in Section 4.5 where they say in general that:
“4.5.1* General. Ground and floor surfaces along accessible routes and in accessible rooms and spaces including floors, walks, ramps, stairs, and curb ramps, shall be stable, firm, slip-resistant, and shall comply with 4.5.”
Specifically the ADA discusses Coefficient of Friction requirements in Appendix A4.5.1:
“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that walking surfaces have a static coefficient of friction of 0.5. A research project sponsored by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) conducted tests with persons with disabilities and concluded that a higher coefficient of friction was needed by such persons. A static coefficient of friction of 0.6 is recommended for accessible routes and 0.8 for ramps.”

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