When deciding on footwear, slip resistance is one of the most important factors to consider for wearer safety. While other countries had long ago established slip resistance ratings for footwear, the US did not have an established SR specification. As of July 2021, the US finally introduced ASTM F3445.
This new Slip Resistant requirement establishes minimum coefficient of friction requirements to label footwear as slip resistant or “SR”. It also levels the playing field by which all manufacturers are evaluated and to which Safety Managers can refer when specifying or purchasing footwear.
What is ASTM?
All ASTM documents are “standards”. Manufacturers generally concern themselves with “Standard Test Methods” and “Standard Performance Specifications”.
The new ASTM F3445 “label” refers to standard performance specifications for slip Resistance and must appear on any footwear making slip resistance performance claims.
Measuring Slip Resistance
Slip resistance is measured by determining its Coefficient of Friction.
ASTM F2913 Test Method
ASTM F3445 is tested using the ASTM F2913 Test Method which establishes the Coefficient of Friction.
Slip Resistance is usually assessed with a tribometer (trīˈ bämitər). A tribometer is an instrument that measures quantities such as coefficient of friction (COF), friction force and wear volume between two surfaces in contact. As a mechanical device, tribometers cannot tangibly account for individual pedestrian gait peculiarities or other intrinsic factors.
Footwear achieving COF of 0.40 when tested on dry and wet surfaces can claim the Slip Resistance label.
What does the ASTM F3445 mean for you?
The most important result of this new standard is that you, the wearer, can feel safe on slick or wet surfaces. With this new standard, consumers can choose the footwear that best fits their needs while being assured the footwear provides the traction required on the job.
This article republished with permission from Tingley. View our other blog posts related to Personal Protective Equipment.