Highly polished concrete floors are beautiful — eye candy, in fact. But let’s face it — they look slippery.
It’s a fact, established time and again that polished concrete floors are NOT slippery. But the erroneous perception, because they are glossy and reflective, is that they are.
It’s possible that perception wouldn’t be a problem if falls weren’t the “leading cause of nonfatal medically attended injuries in the United States,” as reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
OSHA reports slips, trips and falls compose the majority of industrial accidents, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of death. The cost, from litigation, medical bills, workers comp and other costs is in the tens of billions of dollars annually, according to the National Floor Safety Institute.
That kind of pie makes slip and fall claims a tempting target for scam artists. A popular scam, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) has two people splitting up in a big box store.
One acts as lookout while the other spills some liquid on the floor and pretends to fall and be hurt.
The lookout runs to help and is the “witness.” Many retailers, who are self-insured, will cut a check without looking further. They see at it as just another business cost, the NCIB said in an Aug. 24, 2010 press release.
These facts might have something to do with why many specifications require finished concrete floors and flooring products to meet benchmarks for traction and slip-resistance such as ANSI B101.1 Standard for Walkway Surfaces.
I don’t know what the legalities are, and they probably very from state to state. One thing I do know is that in any slip and fall claim investigation, the incident walking surface will likely be tested for static or dynamic coefficient of friction (SCOF or DCOF), which is basically how much traction the floor offers.
If it’s under a certain standard, liability may go up — the floor owner’s liability and possibly the liability of anyone connected with installing the floor. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) both set that number at Static Coefficient of 0.6 for wet concrete floors.
That’s why it was super news to us at PROSOCO, that finished concrete floors treated with Consolideck LS (lithium-silicate) Hardener/Densifier and LSGuard, micro-thin glossy lithium-silicate protective treatment tested out at numbers considerably higher than the ADA and NSFI safety standard.
Certified Walkway Specialist Ben Jones of testing organization NU-SAFE Floor Solutions, Walton, Ky., tested the floors according to ANSI B101.1 Standard for Walkway Surfaces including using the specified BOT 3000 Tribometer. The standard calls for testing floors wet, since wet floors are the ones people seem to slip on most often.
“The wet static coefficient of friction as referenced in the ANSI B101.1 standard far exceeded the ‘High Traction Range’ for wet surfaces. Each zone tested demonstrated that the wet coefficient of friction in each zone would provide a very safe walkway surface, even when wet and contaminated.”
Other Consolideck products included in the tests, and in the high marks:
LS/CS Lithium-Silicate Hardener/Densifier
SLX100 Oil & Water Repellent – penetrating protective treatment
PolishGuard – glossy protective treatment for polished concrete floors subject to spills of acidic liquids
This is good news, not just for us, but for design professionals who specify our Consolideck products, and the applicators who install them. It means our products meet those specifications.
It’s also good news for owners of floors. While no one can guarantee which way a damage claim might go, it can only help if the investigation following an accident shows that the floor exceeds standards for slip-resistance.
# # #