Understanding the Importance of Coefficient of Friction

Throughout daily life, friction occurs. This unseen force either allows or hinders the movement of two surfaces that come into contact. It is the resistance an object encounters when moving over another. This force acts in the opposite direction to the way an object wants to slide.

In this article we focus on friction that occurs on walking surfaces in the workplace.

Coefficient of Friction

Coefficient of Friction (COF) is a mathematical term that represents the amount of friction existing between two surfaces. A low value of coefficient of friction means less force is required for sliding to occur while a higher value means more force is required.

It’s imperative for companies, in industries like food, beverage and pharmaceutical, to ensure their facility has flooring that exceeds the standards for coefficient of friction set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The United States ANSI method uses a force gauge to rate the quality of friction on a surface:

  • Equal to or greater than .60, excellent friction
  • Equal to or greater than .50, adequate friction
  • Equal to or less than .40, caution is necessary

OSHA currently recommends the static coefficient of friction must be at least .50 for all walkway surfaces under both wet and dry conditions. For maximum safety, you would want to try to achieve a .60 coefficient of friction, and there are countless factors and combinations to be considered including:

  • Different shoe materials
  • Different floor materials
  • How used and worn are the shoes
  • Walk patterns
  • Body weight and height of employee
  • Lighting
  • Surface perception

Sterling is a distributor of GripTread products, non-slip surface options created using a patent-pending abrading technique, which differs from traditional use of diamond plate, the most common product used for walking surfaces that is extremely slippery when wet. GripTread produces a safer, more sanitary, non-slip walking surface proven to withstand extensive use with no chipping, breaking off, or flaking. It exceeds the standards for coefficient of friction set by ANSI, NFPA, ADA and OSHA.

This means the coefficient of friction exceeds a quality of friction of .60 on both wet and dry horizontal surfaces, and for inclined ramps, a .80 quality of friction. With GripTread, you get long-term safety for metal walking surfaces through customized options, limitless applications, and a safe, durable surface.

So, what’s stopping your company from taking the next step towards safety? Contact us today to get started.