ACO Polycrete explains some of the changes made recently to the testing methods of AS 4586: Slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surface materials. 

The HB 197 handbook outlines the acceptable minimum standard of slip resistance in various pedestrian areas such as walkways, shopping centres and supermarkets. HB 197 is a guide for selecting appropriate materials during specification of pedestrian surfaces. 

There are two tests specified within AS 4586: oil wet ramp and wet pendulum to assess the slip resistance of a floor surface. 

Oil Wet Ramp (R-rating)

The Oil Wet Ramp test uses an inclining platform to assess the slip resistance of a material. The test determines the angle of inclination at which safe walking no longer occurs on the test surface, which is coated with engine lubricating oil. The test person moves back and forth across the test surface where the angle of inclination is increased until the safe limit of walking is reached. 

The angle of inclination obtained is used to classify the degree of slip resistance with an ‘R’ rating, from R9 to R13, R9 being the lowest inclination rating classified by the Standard and indicating the lowest slip resistance. 

Wet Pendulum test (P-rating)

The updated AS 4586, released in June 2013, shows the wet pendulum test having the most significant change in its test methodology and classification. 

The Wet Pendulum test uses a Pendulum Friction Tester and a rubber slider. The rubber slider material has been altered in the 2013 Standard to more accurately represent a worn and polished heel. This means that the test is more difficult to achieve ‘higher’ levels of slip resistance than previous revisions of the Standard. 

The classification methodology has also been changed: previously, the 2004 version of AS 4586 used V to Z classifications, which has now been superseded by the 2013 release of AS 4586 with P1 to P5 classifications - P5 being the highest achievable level of slip resistance.

HB 197: An introductory guide to the slip resistance of pedestrian surface materials

HB 197 has not yet been updated to reflect the changes in wet pendulum classification of AS 4586 - 2013. In the interim, it is possible to draw parallel between the 2004 and 2013 Standards using the table (Table 1) below. 

Taken from HB 197, Table 2 makes recommendations for pedestrian surface materials in some locations. The column titled ‘Pendulum – 2013’ is an interpretation of the 2013 release of AS 4586 to compare with the 2004 classification. 

Heelsafe Anti-Slip grates

To help prevent public falls and injuries, ACO believes that small slotted grates should also be slip resistant. Each grate complies with various user and legislative requirements, including AS 4586 for slip resistance. Heelsafe Anti-Slip grates have raised mechanical nodes for tread durability and are available in a choice of stainless steel, ductile iron and plastic designs. 

Grates with raised mechanical nodes have excellent durability compared with those produced by manufacturers who apply coatings or mechanically alter the grates to attain a level of slip resistance. These processes will not only ensure a short term slip resistance due to the wearing process, but can introduce impurities in the material, which will accelerate corrosion. 

Heelsafe anti slip grates from ACO Polycrete are identified by this approved symbol for ease of identification. The symbol is a mark of compliance for pedestrian friendly grates, identifying grates suitable for heels, wheelchairs and bikes with a slip resistant rating.