Safety & Ratings

Safety & Ratings

The best look, the safe choice

It is essential to pick a slip-resistant tile. With the right flooring, you can add a level of protection against slip-and-fall accidents.

Slip resistance ratings are used to determine the level of the slipperiness of a surface. When choosing tiles for a space, it is essential to keep the safety factor in mind. In most instances, people choose tiles based on aesthetics and often overlook the slip rating. It is important to select tiles with a slip rating that is suitable for the space in which the tiles are being installed. Most tiles have a slip rating that is determined based on the test method used. The ratings are expressed as:

  • R ratings for the Oil Wet Ramp Test
  • P ratings for the Wet Pendulum Slip Test
  • D ratings for Dry Floor Friction Test
  • A, B & C ratings for the Wet Barefoot Ramp Test

The various slip ratings reflect the frictional characteristics of surfaces in different environments. As such, the method that best serves the need for an environment must be used. The ratings are reliable and indicate slip resistance, however, an R10 rating from an Oil Wet Ramp Test cannot be considered to be an equivalent of a P3 rating from the Wet Pendulum Slip Test.


Minimum Slip Rating Requirements

Wet Pendulum Method

This method of testing involves the use of the wet pendulum friction tester device that was first developed to assess the skid resistance of roads. The device consists of a metal boot with a spring and rubber slider at the bottom. The boot slides across the surface and the height to which it can swing back indicates the slipperiness of a floor. The pendulum swings very high for a floor that is very slippery.

A floor surface can be tested by this method in wet condition. The floor can be sprayed with water and the reading for the swing of the pendulum is noted for at least five times. The average of the last three readings yields the result. An advantage of this method is that the device is portable and can be used in any location.

Oil Wet Ramp Test

This test offers a ramp rating which is also referred to as R rating or classification. The R rating of a floor surface is one of the most widely used terms for assessing the slip resistance. This method involves laying the tiles that need to be tested on a ramp. A lubricating oil is then applied to the surface. Testers walk up the ramp and the angle of the ramp is gradually increased. The angle or threshold of safe walking is determined. Based on the ratings, surfaces are classified as safe or unsafe. The R9 rating is considered as the lowest while the R13 rating is the most slip resistant.

Dry Floor Friction Test

The dry floor friction tester is a machine which measures the slip resistance of floors in a dry condition. The testing equipment operates by measuring the force applied to a rubber slider as it is dragged along the floor. The slip resting testing is conducted in dry conditions and the machine moves across the surface at a rate of about 1 meter per minute. The total distance travelled is 800 mm, being in line with the Australian Standard for dry slip resistance testing.

The test is portable and can be used for a variety of surfaces including stone, timber, vinyl & tiling. The results of slip testing generally rely on passing a threshold of 0.40, which has been accepted over the years as being suitable.

Wet Barefoot Ramp Test

Wet barefoot inclining platform test is a test to assess the slip resistance of situations where people will likely be barefoot and subjected to wet water surfaces, such as bathrooms or showers. By soaking feet in a foot spa for 15 minutes, this softened the skin it provide a consistent test foot. The softening of the skin generally makes the foot a bit more slippery. The test is conducted with two people are attached to a harness who walk on a test panel. The test panel is then inclined with the test personnel walking backwards and forwards at a specific walking pace, looking down and keeping an upright posture. If this is conducted twice without the test personnel slipping, then the platform is increased and the test is repeated. When the test personnel slip, then they repeat to confirm the slip, and measure the angle at which they slipped. This angle or gradient is averaged between the two test personnel, and then compared with previously calibrated panels to confirm the classification.