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History of the Floor Pendulum Test

Background to the Pendulum Testing Equipment development used for Floor Tests and Skid Tests

Munroe Pendulum Testing EquipmentSometimes known as the Sigler Pendulum Tester; British Pendulum Tester; or Portable Skid Resistance Tester, the Pendulum Test is reported as being originally developed by Percy Sigler / National Bureau of Standards about the 1940’s to measure the floor slip resistance in government buildings.

In the 1950’s the Pendulum was modified by the UK Transport Research Laboratory – ‘TRL’ (Originally known as the Road Research Laboratory or British Roadway Institute) for use to skid test the slip resistance of roads to help prevent skids, particularly at corners. It was adapted for general floor testing in the 1970’s

A UK Manufactured Floor Pendulum Test Equipment can be supplied to you brand new by FloorSlip find out more by clicking this link

The Pendulum Tester is regularly used to test floor slip resistance from pedestrian flooring to offices, on sports surfaces to shopping centres, from roads to factories, airports and even oil rigs. It’s also favoured for building designs at the architects stage to ensure owners and builders meet their your duty of care

What the Pendulum Tester does

The pendulum tester imitates the ‘dynamic’ (moving) action of a heel passing across a floor. The test is reported as the most accurate, repeatable and consistent method to test floor slip resistance and so is the floor testing tool of choice by the HSE and the HSL (UK Health and Safety Laboratories)

‘Static’ methods do not provide this consistency and it has been proven that the ‘static’ floor test reading does not always translate to the dynamic slip potential.

Pendulum testing measures the ‘actual’ loss of momentum while stopping as opposed to a theoretical mathematically calculated method.

It uses the Izod principle which determines ‘impact strength’ (English Engineer - Edwin Gilbert Izod 1876–1946). In operation a known specific weight at the end of a pendulum arm is rotated to a calibrated distance above the ground and then released. On the end of the weight is a sprung loaded rubber ‘heel’ which (when the arm is released) rotates towards the floors then impacts and slides across the floor (imitating a person’s heel). The distance the pendulum test arm then travels after striking the floor is measured, the further it travels, the worse the floor slip problem.

Floor Pendulum Test scale srv or otv of 36 required to meet risk assessment and duty of care

As a general rule, a Pendulum Test value (PTV) of 36 is required as a legal minimum on all floors and particularly wet floors* and a higher value is recommended for areas like greasy kitchen floors and step nosings (For example the   the USA use 45)

*Research by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified over 90% of floor slip accidents in the UK occur on wet floors, generally smooth floors and the amount of accident injury claims supports this – £1.4 million per day in the UK ($5 Million a day in the USA!)

Pendulum testing acceptance in a court of law

The Pendulum Test is probably the most widely used of methods throughout the world to test floors and consistently reproduce accurate floor risk assessment findings. It is favoured in Europe, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and the USA and is widely recognised and supportable in a court of law in the UK in injury accident investigation.

Further reading on Floor and Pendulum Testing can be found at

Keywords - Pendulum Floor Slip Testing History, Sigler Pendulum Test, British Floor Pendulum Test, HSE approved Floor Slip Testing  

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