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ASTM and the various stakeholders in ASTM F13 Committee on Safety and Traction for Footwear hold widely differing philosophical positions with regard to friction safety standards, but have a common ground in wanting to see a reduction in slip and fall accidents. Since no existing friction-testing device can evaluate every aspect of pedestrian friction, conflicts exist between the stakeholders as to the appropriate use of these devices and standards based upon them. To speed the passage of needed slip resistance standards, analysis of the basis of stakeholder positions and ways to accommodate these positions is required to gain more rapid consensus. This paper addresses specific interests of the shoe, flooring and steel industries, producers of proprietary slip-testing equipment, consumers of footwear, workers, architects and builders, expert witnesses and politicians, academic scientists and of ASTM, and mentions issues that have prevented the timely passage of standards. It explores possible solutions to these conflicts, including the eventual replacement of proprietary-based standards with performance-based standards, and the inclusion in standards of statements relating to the limitations of the methods and clear descriptions of the methodology and stage of precision and bias testing. It discusses directions for future research, and mentions useful approaches to slip resistance standards writing in Australia and New Zealand.
consensus, slip-resistance standards
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Area Health Education Center - Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, AR