An Overview of Wet Pendulum Slip Resistance Test 

Slip and fall related incidents lead to numerous personal injuries around the world. Slip testing plays a major role in preventing these injuries. Therefore, if you are an occupier, supervisor, facility manager or proprietor, your investment in slip resistance of your floor surface is a part of your cognizance of duty of care. This testing is a must for providing a secure working environment for everyone on the floor.   

In Australia, the two most commonly used slip testing methods are Oiled Inclining Platform and the Wet Pendulum Slip Resistance Test. The former is a laboratory only test, and can only be used for new surfaces in or on a pedestrian walkway. The Pendulum Test Method, on the other hand, can be used for all types of brand new surfaces as well as pre-existing surfaces in-situ.   

Wet Pendulum Test   

Wet pendulum slip test is performed using a metal boot equipped with a spring loaded rubber slider at the bottom. The boot can swing back, and the height of its swing indicates how slippery a particular surface is. Therefore, a higher swing of the pendulum indicates a more slippery surface.    

As the name suggests, the test is conducted in a wet condition by spraying water on the surface to be tested. The pendulum is made to swing across this wet surface at least five times. After testing five locations, the average is calculated using the last three readings.  

Though the machine used for wet pendulum test is simple, to ensure reliability and quality of ratings, it is essential to provide formal training to operators under a NATA accredited program. Please remember that conducting this test incorrectly may significantly affect the final slip rating, jeopardizing public safety.  Therefore, in order to receive accurate results, only engage a company with the NATA accreditation.   

 This test is conducted using a device known as wet pendulum friction tester. Interestingly, this test was initially developed for the measurement of skid resistance of road surfaces.  AS/NZS 3661.1:1993, the first Australian Standard for slip resistance, specifies this equipment for slip resistance testing of pedestrian surfaces.   

Over the years, there have been some changes in the testing methodology. The new testing standard recommends using lapping films for the conditioning of rubber slider materials. One of two types of sliders Slider 96 and Slider 55 is used for conducting this test.   

Assessment of Pendulum Slip Test Ratings  

When it comes to assessment of the risk of slipping using wet pendulum friction tester, there has been some debates in Australia. As per the original AS 3661.1 standards, at least a Coefficient of Friction (CoF) of 0.40 (BPN of 39) was required for level walking surfaces. This threshold limit, however, was discarded later in 1999 and 2002 with the release of AS 4586 and AS 4663. These new documents outlined the requirement of risk management for the assessment of the notational contribution of slipping risk in wet condition.    

Coating Management Solutions offers slip testing solutions for all environments, and provides accredited test report in compliance with Australian Standards AS 4586 & AS 4663. Please contact us today to find out more.