Image courtesy of NFSI

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) should require floor covering manufacturers to label their products’ traction, the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) said today in a news release announcing it had petitioned CPSC to make the change.

NSFI asked CPSC to adopt the ANSI/NFSI B101.5 standard on traction as a requirement. So far, the proposal has had more than 60 public comments issued to the CPSC, many of which supported the requirement, according to NFSI.

According to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) website, B101.5 “sets forth a uniform product labeling method which identifies the wet static and wet dynamic coefficient of friction (traction) of floor coverings, floor coverings with coatings, and treated floor coverings.” While considered a standard for the industry, floor covering manufacturers are currently not required to include a label on their product that follows B101.5.

"Slips and falls are one of the leading causes injuries [sic], of which 55% are caused by unsafe floors,” Russ Kendzior, NFSI president, said in the press release. “When it comes to buying a floor, most consumers are in the dark and assume all floors are safe only to find out that they are not once they are injured."

Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, and William C. Wallace of Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports magazine, also have commented in favor of making B101.5 a requirement for the industry.

Floor covering manufacturers such as Mohawk Industries oppose the proposed requirement, NFSI said. It quoted Mohawk Industries as saying, "Providing coefficient of friction (COF) information of product packaging misdirects the consumer and can lead to a false sense of safety. Our decades of experience in the floor covering industry indicates that wet and dry traction are generally self evident to consumers simply by walking on the product, or running a hand over it under the expected conditions (i.e.: wet and dry)."

Kendzior disagrees. "Running your fingers across a floor's surface is not an accurate measurement of the product's safety as it will be walked on," he says. "The flooring industry is already testing their products' slip resistance and all we are asking is they make that information available to the consumer via an easy to understand product label."

The CPSC is expected to present its findings about the petition in the fall.