ANSI Standards For Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls
ANSI is the American National Standards Institute, charged with overseeing development of standards applicable to products and services. The federal government requires that agencies conform with and rely upon ANSI standards.
The National Floor Safety Institute is an accredited standards developer. Russ Kendzior, founder of the Southlake, Texas-based National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), as well as secretary of the ANSI B101 Committee, has published five ANSI standards for floor safety. To his frustration, these are yet to be adopted by OSHA, even though they’ve been in the works for years. The result is that not many folks know that the standards exist.
ANSI/NFSI B101.0 is a walkway auditing guideline using a tribometer to measure coefficient of friction. Kendzior says that the word “auditing” is used versus “inspection,” which means a visual inspection plus testing.
ANSI/NFSI B101.1 covers test methods performed under wet conditions and publishes three traction ranges or risk classes.
“Statistically, 80 percent of all slips and falls take place on wet floors. People don’t really slip and fall on dry floors, so why test on them,” says Kendzior.
ANSI/NFSI B101.3 measures the wet static coefficient of friction; this is in contrast to European standards, which measures the dynamic coefficient of friction.
ANSI/NFSI B101.5 is a labeling standard for manufacturers of floor coverings to label their products’ slip resistance. The manufacture is capable of testing this in a lab and publishing the data so that consumers will know the coefficient of the traction range before making a purchase.
ANSI/NFSI B101.6 is an entranceway floor mat standard that spells out the proper procedures for inspection, selection, maintenance and care for floor mats.
Five additional standards will be released next year, says Kendzior, including:
ANSI/NFSI B101.2 will be a floor cleaner standard for testing floor cleaners and providing information about their traction ranges: does the product enhance traction, is it neutral, or does it reduce traction?
ANSI/NFSI B101.9 is a walkway safety management standard, written for corporate risk managers and safety professionals outlining how to create a slip and fall prevention program.
Another future standard will include those concerning footwear safety, which will measure the resistance of various shoes.
Hilary Daninhirsch is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh.