The polishes and floor maintenance division of the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) recently published a press release stating that the division is “concerned that recent claims made by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) regarding slip-resistance testing for floor-care products are misleading and could result in an increased risk of slip-and-fall accidents.”

The CSPA recognizes the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) method for classifying walkways as “slip-resistant” or “slip-retardant” — The Static Coefficient of Friction of Polish-Coated Surfaces as Measured by the James Machine. CSPA adopted the standard in 1970.

CSPA says that NFSI, a nonprofit organization, gives manufacturers and customers “false assurance” of floor slip resistance. The group said the ASTM D-2047 standard has provided assurance since 1970.

NFSI uses a wet coefficient-of-friction test conducted with the Universal Walkway Tester (UWT). The ASTM D-2047 test is based on dry conditions.

CSPA recently evaluated the UWT and NFSI’s wet resistance standard using different floor types. The group concluded that, in all scenarios tested, floors that the CSPA would classify as hazardous passed the NFSI test.

“The James Machine is designed to be used under exclusively dry conditions and the UWT is designed to test exclusively wet conditions,” says Russ Kendzior, executive director of NFSI. If the machines were used for testing under conditions that they weren’t intended for, the results will be misleading, he says.

“Eighty percent of slip-and-fall accidents take place on wet floors,” Kendzior says. “We should have a method for testing [floors] under wet conditions.”

He says because sales of UWTs had been so high, NFSI sold the tester to Vario Systems, which created Universal Walkway Testing LP. The new company is the universal manufacturer and distributor of the UWT, as of Oct. 6. NFSI will continue to focus on training, education and research of slip-and-fall accidents.

“If the James Machine tests were really working, we wouldn’t have 8 million people slipping and falling every year,” Kendzior says.