NFSI B101.1-2020: Measuring the Wet SCOF of Walkways

A bright yellow wet floor sign set before walking people on a walkway tested for NFSI B101.1-2020 wet SCOF.

The bipedal gait cycle (i.e. the way you walk), begins with heel strike. The spring ligament of the foot releases its tension during toe-off, which leads to the swing phase and back to the beginning. During the stance phase (heel strike and toe-off), the foot is weight bearing, so slips, trips, and falls can occur. As such incidents have been a major source of workplace injury, NFSI B101.1-2020: Test Method For Measuring The Wet SCOF Of Hard-Surface Walkways helps determine the safety of walkways.

The Dangers of Slips, Trips, and Falls

While often overshadowed by other industrial hazards, slips, trips, and falls are rampant. Just consider the amount of time spent walking. All it can take is some differentiation in friction to throw someone off in the gait cycle. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

You can slip when you lose your footing, you can trip when you catch your foot on or in something, and you fall when you come down suddenly.”

Fall protection consistently tops the OSHA top 10 list of violations year after year. In fact, in 2016, around 700 workers died from falls to a lower level. However, a worker doesn’t have to fall from up high to suffer injuries, as, during that same year, 134 workers were killed from falls from the same level.

Measuring the Wet Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF) of Walkways with NFSI B101.1-2020

This standard was first developed in 2009 to support efforts to make floors safer. It meets this goal by helping users collect data that can facilitate the remediation of walkway surfaces. Specifically, NFSI B101.1-2020 focuses on the wet static coefficient of friction (SCOF), which records how slippery a floor surface is when it is wet or contaminated. Specifically, according to NFSI B101.1-2020, SCOF is:

“The ratio of the horizontal component of force applied to a body that just overcomes the resistance to slipping to the vertical component of the weight of the object or force applied.”

NFSI B101.1-2020 outlines a test method, including the procedures and devices used for both laboratory and field-testing, to measure the SCOF of hard-surface walkways. In meeting this need, the standard addresses common hard-surfaced walkway materials, such as ceramic and porcelain tile, polished and unpolished concrete, stone, vinyl, wood and synthetic laminates, and such materials with coatings or polishes applied. It does not, however, apply to carpeting of any type.

National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) Standards

NFSI B101.1-2020 was authored by the B101 committee on slip, trip, and fall prevention of the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI)NFSI is an ANSI-accredited standards developing organization (SDO) with the mission:

to aid in the prevention of slips, trips, and falls through education, research and standards development.

Other safety standards published by NFSI include:

NFSI B101.3-2020: Test Method For Measuring The Wet DCOF Of Hard Surface Walkways

NFSI B101.5-2020: Standard Guide For Uniform Labeling Method For Identifying The Wet Static And Wet Dynamic Coefficient Of Friction (Traction) Of Floor Coverings, Floor Coverings With Coatings, And Treated Floor Coverings

NFSI B102.2-2020: Test Method For Determining The Impact On Wet Coefficients Of Friction Of Various Chemical Or Physical Walkway Surface Cleaners And Treatments On Common Hard-Surface Flooring Materials

You can find NFSI B101.1-2020: Test Method For Measuring The Wet SCOF Of Hard-Surface Walkways and other National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) standards on the ANSI Webstore.

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