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Assessment of Walkway Tribometer Readings in Evaluating Slip Resistance: A Gait-Based Approach

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ABSTRACT:

The purpose of this study was to assess the viability of using slip risk (as quantified during human subject walking trials) to create a reference standard against which tribometer readings could be compared. First, human subjects (N=84) were used to rank objectively the slipperiness of three different surfaces with and without a contaminant (six conditions). Second, nine tribometers were used to independently measure and rank surface slipperiness for all six conditions. The slipperiness ranking determined from the walking trials was considered the reference against which the tribometer measurements were compared. Our results revealed that only two of the nine tribometers tested (Tortus II and Mark III) met our compliance criteria by both correctly ranking all six conditions and differentiating between surfaces of differing degrees of slipperiness. These findings reinforce the need for objective criteria to ascertain which tribometers effectively evaluate floor slipperiness and a pedestrian's risk of slipping.
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Keywords: coefficient of friction; forensic science; slip resistance; tribometer; walkway safety

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Laboratory, Department Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, 1540 E. Alacazar St., CHP-155, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9006. 2: MEA Forensic Engineers & Scientists, 21076 Bake Pkwy, Suite 106, Lake Forest, CA 92630. 3: J2 Engineering Inc., 7636 N. Ingram, Suite 108, Fresno, CA 93711. 4: MEA Forensic Engineers & Scientists, 11-11151 Horseshoe Way, Richmond, BC, Canada V7A 4S5.

Publication date: 2007-03-01

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