TCNA Updates Standard Aimed at Reducing Slips, Falls

A national standard now requires hard surface flooring manufacturers to provide product use classifications based on their slip resistance properties.

The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) announced the update to American National Standard Test Method for Measuring Dynamic Coefficient of Friction of Hard Surface Flooring Materials, otherwise known as ANSI A326.3, Feb. 2.

“This revision to A326.3, resulting from years of testing, research and consensus-building, represents perhaps the most significant slip/fall communications advancement in the flooring industry since the 1950s, when standards were proposed to measure the frictional properties of flooring,” says TCNA director of standards development and sustainability initiatives, Bill Griese. “This classification system is a key step forward for better specifications and consumer safety.”

The addition of five product use categories to the standard will allow manufacturers to directly communicate areas of use based on the slip resistance characteristics of their products, with manufacturers starting to provide these classifications for their products in the upcoming months.

The categories are interior, dry (ID); interior, wet (IW); interior, wet plus (IW+); exterior, wet (EW); and oils/greases (O/G).

According to the standard, hard surface flooring products shall be classified into one or more of the categories. Additionally, the standard provides informative ‘possible areas of use’ for each category.

To assist manufacturers in providing product use classification ratings, the TCNA product performance testing laboratory has testing options that can help assess a product’s slip resistance properties, including the ‘German Ramp’ test standardized in DIN 51130 and the ‘British Pendulum’ tests standardized in British Standard 7976 and ASTM E303, in addition to the ANSI A326.3 dynamic coefficient of friction test. These tests, potentially used in combination, can assist manufacturers in determining product use classification in conjunction with their internal quality control criteria, manufacturing parameters and experience with similar surfaces.

According to TCNA director of laboratory services Katelyn Simpson, the TCNA lab is prioritizing testing needed for product use classification to achieve widespread adoption, communication and use of this classification system.

A free digital copy of the standard is now available to the public on the TCNA’s website.

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