If you have any queries please feel free to contact us.
Alternatively we have tried to answer many of the Frequently Asked Questions we receive below:
The time taken to carry out a Pendulum Slip Test does depend on a number of factors, but as a rule of thumb it would take our experienced operators approximately 20-30 minutes per test to produce a slip test result, carry out surface roughness measurements and conduct a slip risk assessment. Whilst accuracy is more important than speed, we do find in round-robin studies with other accredited testers we tend to be among the fastest operators.
Anyone can conduct a Pendulum slip test with the right equipment and training. Whilst the testing process isn't difficult, it is essential that the proper procedure is followed if reliable results are to be produced. We can provide either an expert impartial testing service, or provide a full, calibrated Pendulum testing kit, with all consumables necessary to carry out testing. Our training packages provide would-be operators with the confidence that they can carry out testing properly.
Munro's slip risk assessment service is centred around the use of a Pendulum slip testing device. The Pendulum test can be used in a variety of ways; as part of a pro-active risk assessment of surfaces to reduce accident rates and exposure to slip injury claims, to certify flooring products for manufacturers, suppliers or architects prior to their installation, and in an expert witness role for personal injury slip and fall cases. We can also provide the Pendulum tester itself, with supporting services including service, repair, calibration and training, and we supply a variety of additional accessories and consumables for use with the Pendulum. We don't offer anti-slip treatments, as this would give us a commercial incentive to achieve a particular test result, but we can and do recommend some excellent anti-slip contractors where necessary.
There is a general requirement for safe surfaces in UK law, and an explicit requirement for workplaces to be "not slippery". Essentially, anywhere that people will walk and someone is responsible for their safety, an assessment of the risk of slipping is required. It is difficult to assess slip risk without conducting a slip test. Environments that we have slip tested are wide-ranging, including; airports, museums, stadiums, wet leisure, hotels, railway stations, restaurants, shopping centres, offices, public highways. We have even conducted slip tests on the helipad of an oil rig, at Wimbledon centre court, and in quite a few of London's iconic hotels.
The test involves swinging a mechanical 'foot' designed to replicate a pedestrian's heel in a real slipping incident. The foot swings down and strikes the test surface, and the amount of energy lost as it slips/skids/kicks the surface is used to determine how much grip that surface provides. The test isn't particularly noisy, requires no power, and leaves the surface in the condition that it was found, expect maybe for some superficial rubber scuff marks. The process is quite involved, defined in BS 7976 and by the UKSRG (UK Slip Resistance Group) Guidelines, and requires careful calibration of the machine, verification and preparation of the test sliders, and several repeated measurements before the final figure is produced. Ultimately however, this test is the preferred method of both the UK HSE and the UKSRG, and is the method that is used in a personal injury slip and fall claim.
In 2019/2020 there were more than 47,000,000 visits to UK-based museums. The greater the number of pedestrians, the greater the risk of one of them slipping. It is essential that both the risk of slipping is kept to a minimum, and responsible parties are able to demonstrate that their flooring meets minimum safety standards. Failure to consider slip risk is likely to lead to increased costs associated with slip accidents, admin/investigation time, increased insurance costs, damaged reputation, regulator fines, etc, ultimately hurting the bottom line.
If you have a responsibility for the safety of your staff, visitors and/or customers then a slip test is a basic and essential tool in ensuring you fulfill this duty of care. Slips and trips account for a large proportion of accidents and it is essential that your floors are safe if you are to ensure your staff/visitors are safe. If you don't test your floors you can't be sure that they present an acceptably low risk of slipping.
Benefits to slip testing include the obvious, a reduced chance of accidents and reduced exposure to compensation claims, but there are secondary benefits such as more intelligent/targeted spending on remedial works, refinement to cleaning processes, improved customer perception and reduced insurance rates.
Drawbacks associated with not testing include loss of staff through injury, admin associated with accident investigation, personal injury claims, damaged reputation, increased insurance premiums, emergency or stop-gap remedial work costs, ultimately hitting the business' profitability.
Slip resistance testing can be carried out following a slip accident, for responsible parties, insurers or lawyers/the court. Crucially, those slip resistance testing service instructed by the court will occur 2-4 years after the event, by which time the floor surface may have changed. An expert impartial report produced closer to the time of the accident can provide a far better insight to the risk of slipping at the time of the accident.
Slip accidents will typically only occur when a surface is wet or otherwise contaminated. Clean and dry floors reliably produce safe grip levels, but it isn’t always possible to ensure a floor surface remains clean and dry in end-use. Slips are most likely to occur where a floor surface is not designed to provide a safe grip level in the wet, and the environment is such that the floor gets wet in end-use.
As the foot slips across the surface the water (or another contaminant) is compressed into a high-pressure film. If the floor isn't rough enough (anti-slip) then the film cannot escape and the heel is lifted off the surface in a similar way to an aquaplaning car tyre. If the surface is kept dry, or the surface is sufficiently rough to prevent the formation of this squeeze film, then contact between sole and floor is maintained and a safe level of grip is experienced.
Munro’s extensive experience in conducting Pendulum Slip Testing for risk assessment to exacting standards in a wide range of environments makes us an excellent ally in your efforts to reduce slip accidents in a public building setting. We've been doing what we do for a long time and we're great at it. Key strengths of our service include 3rd party (UKAS) accreditation, complete independence from any anti-slip or cleaning suppliers, and a service that is regularly employed by lawyers in slip injury cases.
Whilst any surface that is walked on should be assessed, there are a few key accident hotspots in hotels. These will typically be the best places to start slip testing. The pool and associated spa facilities and changing rooms will be a challenging environment and require both an effective anti-slip floor and effective long term cleaning to stay safe. Hotel bathrooms are a regular feature for our expert witness services, whilst many chains are now considering the slip risk of tubs and trays, the bathroom floor is often ignored. Commercial kitchens provide not only the means to slip (greasy contamination and a fast-paced environment), but the means to do oneself serious harm in the event of a fall and are worthy of proper investigation. Hotel lobbies will often carry all guests at some point in their stay, but will often see beautifully polished surfaces which will present a significant slip risk if not properly managed. As a general rule however, we will always suggest that you start by addressing accident hotspots, and by consulting staff on any potentially slippery areas.
Different ratings exist for different methods, and different methods are favored by different countries.
For the UK, the ratings that matter are BS 7976-2 PTV (Pendulum Test Value), where a value of 36 or greater is considered a 'low risk of slip'. Values from 35 to 25PTV inclusive are a 'moderate risk' and values below 25PTV are a 'high risk'. Care should be taken to ensure that the results match the end-use conditions, so for a lift lobby for instance a value of 60PTV in the dry with slider #96/4S (shod) would be perfectly fine, whilst for a pool surround you should seek 36+PTV in wet conditions with slider #55/TRL (barefoot). It is also worth noting that other test methods can produce PTV's, but only the ones from BS 7976-2 are relevant for the UK.
Other common rating systems include;
DIN 51130, a German ramp testing method using safety footwear and motor oil to classify surfaces from R9 (most slippery) to R13 (least slippery). These values do not correlate with BS 7976-2 Pendulum values and as such are of limited use int he UK, despite their prevalence.
DIN 51097, another German ramp test, this time using bare feet and soapy water contamination to classify surfaces as A (most slippery) to C (least slippery). In this case a C rated surface is likely to give a value of 36+PTV in the wet with slider #55/TRL (Barefoot).
Rz Values, these are from a simple handheld meter that directly measures the roughness of the micro-surface. Whilst some roughness parameters align quite closely and reliably with PTV's, the Rz parameter is unreliable, with >20micron Rz values aligning with >36PTV wet values only ~75% of the time.
Our operator will arrive with sufficient prepared sliders to conduct the required works, reducing time spent on site.
The machine will be taken out of its case, assembled, and verification check tests carried out to ensure it is working properly.
At the test site, Pendulum tests will be conducted in 3x directions in dry and wet conditions, surface roughness measurements taken, and a full assessment of the environment conducted to determine the risk of slipping. This will typically take approximately 20 minutes.
When tests are completed we will issue a summary results sheet before leaving the site.
A full report, including all verification values, test values, risk assessment, calibration certification and personnel competencies will be issued within 5 working days.
The test is essentially a co-efficient of dynamic friction test, it measures the energy lost (friction) when a controlled rubber slider slips across a test surface. What sets the Pendulum test apart from other CoDF measurements is that the speed of the movement and the angle of the rubber slider replicates the same hydraulic uplift effect that is present in a real pedestrian slip.
A 'foot' with a prepared rubber slider is released from horizontal. The foot swings down to 'kick' the test surface, where the slider, mounted on a sprung lever, will contact the surface for a known distance at a known force. As the foot continues its swing up and away from the test surface, a needle is pushed along an analogue scale. The height of this overswing is indicated by the needle, giving a reading of PTV or Pendulum Test Value.
Whilst the mechanical interaction is simple, the accuracy and repeatability of this test is impressive, due to tight controls on the slider and its preparation, a stringent verification process to ensure results are valid, and a methodology that has been refined over many years of use.
The Pendulum test produces a PTV in dry and wet conditions. The PTV is classified as follows;
0-24PTV - High risk
25-35PTV - Moderate risk
36+PTV - Low risk
The Pendulum is not a pass or fail test, it will tell you how likely someone is to slip in the test conditions. In order to determine whether the results are acceptable it is essential to consider additional factors such as contamination types and controls, traffic types, pedestrian behaviour etc. Whilst slip risk assessment is complex, ultimately responsible parties should be aiming to achieve a low risk of slip classification (36+PTV) in the conditions of end use.
In every personal injury case in which we have been involved, the 36+PTV 'low risk of slip' classification has been crucial in determining whether a surface was safe or slippery in the eyes of the Court.
There is a general requirement in UK law that risks to staff/visitors are assessed.
Slips, trips and falls represent one of the most common accident types.
It is impossible to accurately assess slip risk without conducting a slip test.
The preferred slip test of the UK regulator (the Health and Safety Executive) is the Pendulum test.
If you want to comply with UK law, demonstrate you have fulfilled your duty of care and reduce slip risks to a minimum then a Pendulum test is essential.
In addition to your usual accident response measures, the following can provide valuable information;
At the time of the accident - Gather as much information as possible. Photographs are very valuable. Pay close attention to the condition of the floor, how clean it is, and whether there is any contamination. Take note of anything particularly unusual about the condition of the surface compared to normal.
In the days after the accident - Commission a Pendulum slip test from a reputable supplier (we can help with this!). The slip resistance of a surface will tend to change over time, and personal injury claims often take 3-4 years to progress to the stage of expert witness assessments. If you have high-quality testing showing a safe surface around the time of the slip this can be invaluable. Use the test data to inform choices around remedial action. On the one hand, making a change may suggest that the surface wasn't perfect, but on the other, making these changes can prevent another accident and another claim.
In the following months/years - Ensure that you employ regular testing to both build evidence of due diligence, and guide changes to surface controls/cleaning/management. This will minimise the chances of repeated accidents, reducing the risk of this being successful and subsequent claims arising. The only way to be sure your floor surface achieves safe grip levels long-term is to test repeatedly (annually) and maintain an effective long-term cleaning regime.
If the case comes to court - Employ an appropriately qualified and experienced expert witness who can provide high quality evidence to help resolve the claim. Do not accept common misconceptions such as, "the floor was wet therefore it was slippery" or "the Claimant slipped, therefore it was slippery", these notions can easily be combatted by an experienced lawyer or expert.
If you are responsible for staff/visitor's safety then this responsibility will extend to providing a safe floor surface. If you don't test your floors you can't know whether they are safe, so you can't prove compliance in the event of an accident and you can't make any necessary changes to improve safety to acceptable levels. If your approach to managing slip risk is to respond to accidents only, you will likely be paying far more than you need to through administration costs, staff absences, production losses, legal fees, compensation, increased insurance premiums and even fines. Assessing risk as a matter of routine is a far more cost-effective solution, and means you can make any necessary changes before a slip accident occurs.
A Pendulum test is a quick and easy way to refer to the HSE and UKSRG's preferred slip testing method, "BS 7976-2:2003+A1:2013, to UK Slip Resistance Group Guidelines Issue 5:2017". The test sees a rubber slider fixed to a weighted 'foot' swing across a surface mimicking a pedestrian's heel. The greater the level of grip offered by the surface, the more the foot is slowed, and the higher the reported PTV or Pendulum Test Value. The results of testing as considered alongside other factors to determine whether the surface is safe or slippery. Testing is carried out on new flooring products presented for sale, as part of a risk assessment of existing surfaces, and in slip and fall personal injury cases.
Compared to not testing, advantages of Pendulum slip testing include;
- The ability to identify slippery surfaces and make cost-effective improvements.
- Reduced likelihood of a slip accident occurring.
- Reduced exposure to slip injury claims (both legitimate and spurious).
- Reduced exposure to the losses associated with staff absence, accident administration time/effort, emergency remedial works and litigation.
- Clear evidence that statutory requirements to assess risk have been fulfilled.
- Reduced insurance premiums.
Compared to alternative slip test methods, advantages of Pendulum slip testing include;
- UKAS calibrated test equipment.
- A robust verification procedure that ensures results can be relied upon.
- A refined test procedure led by the UK's independent slip resistance experts, the UK Slip Resistance Group.
- Compliance with industry best practice and regulator (Health and Safety Executive) preferred test methodology.
- The ability to test surfaces in the field, after they have been subject to wear and imperfect cleaning.
- The ability to use the same contaminants in testing that could be expected in end use.