The passing of new laws, new interpretations of old laws and ever-changing case law are all reasons why attorneys must constantly stay up-to-date on the legal world. However, it is also important that attorneys stay abreast of changes within industry safety regulations in order to better represent their clients.
Plaintiff's attorney who represent slip and fall victims should be aware of recent changes in testing standards for slip resistant interior floor tile finishes. Understanding the current standards could be the difference between winning and losing your client's case.
Many floor tile samples in resource literature supplied to design professional may still reference slip resistant testing methods that have recently been withdrawn by the Tile Council of North America (TCNA). These recent changes will likely alter the specifications required to determine whether floor tile finishes are compliant with Article 302 and Article 403 in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) 2010.
For reference, here is Article 302 and Article 403 from the ADAAG 2010.
"Floor and ground surfaces shall be stable, firm, and slip resistant and shall comply with 302."
Advisory 302.1 General.
"A stable surface is one that remains unchanged by contaminants or applied force, so that when the contaminant or force is removed, the surface returns to its original condition. A firm surface resists deformation by either indentations or particles moving on its surface. A slip-resistant surface provides sufficient frictional counterforce to the forces exerted in walking to permit safe ambulation."
403.2 Floor or Ground Surface.
"Floor or ground surfaces shall comply with 302."
The current International Building Code states that ceramic tile must conform to the requirements of ANSI A137.1. This new testing measure, which was once a recommendation, is now a requirement.
The new version of ANSI A137.1 specifies a minimum "Dynamic Co-Efficient of Friction" (DCOF) of 0.42 "for level interior spaces expected to be walked upon when wet." A higher value is required for ramps.
These changes are significant for attorneys who are representing slip-and-fall victims. When hiring an expert witness, it is crucial to make sure he or she is knowledgably of the new standards.