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New Brunswick Slip and Fall Lawyers | Coefficient of Friction

New Brunswick Slip and Fall Lawyers: Coefficient of Friction

Coefficient of friction (COF) is a scientific numerical value used to measure the slipperiness of a surface. It is determined by taking the surface force generated by a pedestrian, divided by the weight of a pedestrian. Therefore the COF will be 0.50 for a 200 lb. pedestrian who generates 100 lbs. of surface force. COF becomes important in slip and fall cases wherein premises liability laws come into play. A wet surface is more slippery than a dry one and will have a lower value COF. If the COF is too low, there is not enough resistance to counteract the forward force at the point of contact – where the shoe hits the ground. The result is a slip and fall accident. A surface contaminated with water is more slippery because water does not compress down and essentially the shoe is hydroplaning over a layer of water.

Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF) vs. Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF)

SCOF is the ratio of how much horizontal force is needed to move an object to the vertical force pressing it to the ground. DCOF is the ratio of the amount of force needed to keep the object in motion to the vertical force pressing it to the ground. Generally the ideal SCOF for a dry floor is 0.5 or greater, and DCOF of 0.4 and above is considered safe. However, since most slip and falls occur in motion and on wet surfaces, more practical standards are being set for wet DCOF target values.

Slip and Fall Prevention

There are three steps that should be taken to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents.

  1. Measure the COF and record the conditions of flooring surfaces

  1. Improve the surfaces to an ideal COF and maintain them at that level

  1. Regularly audit and document flooring conditions to ensure they are being maintained at the proper COF level and comply with safety regulations

Improving Slippery Surfaces

There are two different options available to help improve slip resistance – surface modifiers and mop-on treatments. Surface modifiers chemically alter mineral containing floors to raise the traction level. Materials like concrete, ceramic tile, or stone obtain an imperceptible tread pattern making them safer when wet. Mop-on treatments have ingredients that increase slip resistance on flooring surfaces. They are water based and can be applied to clean and maintain floors.

Maintaining Treated Floors

After initial DCOF testing to determine where surfaces can be improved and treating those areas to achieve safe DCOF levels, it is important to have a program of regular testing and maintenance. This can include a logbook of slip and fall incidents and their circumstances to determine where and when accidents are happening. Cleaning crews must be educated about which products to use on which floors so that surfaces do not become contaminated and slip resistance reduced. Make sure that incompatible cleaning products are removed.

New Brunswick Slip and Fall Lawyers at Harold J. Gerr Defend Those Injured Due to Negligence

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in New Jersey, you need the help of experienced New Brunswick slip and fall lawyer, Harold J. Gerr. We know premises liability law and will help you achieve the best outcome possible for your case. Call the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr at 877-249-4600 or fill out our online contact form.

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