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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2008 more than 8.5 million Americans sustained injuries from an unintentional slip or fall—the leading cause of all nonfatal injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute, 55 percent of slips and falls are caused by a hazardous floor, but are preventable if slip-resistant flooring is in place.
A recently released American National Standard (ANS) from NFSI aims to protect Americans from dangerous surfaces by providing test methods for flooring materials. ANSI/NFSI B101.1-2009, Test Method for Measuring Wet SCOF of Common Hard-Surface Floor Materials, specifies the procedures and devices used for both laboratory and field testing to measure the wet static coefficient of friction (SCOF) of common hard-surface floor materials.
Using ANSI/NFSI B101.1-2009, walkway slip resistance can be measured and categorized in one of three traction ranges: high, moderate, or low. Floors categorized as high-traction present a low risk of a slip and fall, while moderate- and low-traction floors present a higher risk. The standard does not apply to carpeting of any type or mechanically polished tile such as polished porcelain or marble, but does address common hard-surfaced flooring materials such as ceramic tile, vinyl floor coverings, and wood laminates, as well as coatings and polishes.
NFSI is a non-profit organization representing product manufacturers, insurance underwriters, trade associations, and independent consultants that work to aid in the prevention of slips, trips, and falls through education, research, and standards development.