Slip and falls continue to be one of the leading causes of work-related injuries. The reduction of these injuries is dependent upon improved identification of slippery conditions and the design of proper shoes and floors for various environments. The long-term goal of this research project is to reduce injuries due to slips and falls in the workplace through the development of a computational model that predicts the coefficient of friction (COF) of the shoe-floor-contaminant interface. The model will be based upon: 1) micro-level properties of the shoe-floor-contaminant interface (material and surface characteristics along with lubrication properties), and 2) macro- level designs of the shoe (i.e. tread and shape) and floor. The micro-level model will include measurements of properties of shoes, floors and contaminants that will be combined in a computational model based upon fundamental tribological relationships. The macro-level model will incorporate the micro-level model into a finite element representation of the shoe-floor interface. Micro-level model predictions will be compared to current tribological COF testing and macro-level model predictions will be compared to currently used shoe-floor interface slip resistance testing devices. The model predictions will also be compared to actual human slips and falls during gait to determine the efficacy in predicting slips and/or falls. If successful, this model will be able to be used in the evaluation and, more importantly, the design of shoes and floors for various environments.

Public Health Relevance

Slip and falls continue to be one of the leading causes of work-related injuries. The long-term goal of this research is to reduce injuries due to slips and falls in the workplace. The objective is to develop a computational model of friction that will relate directly to slip based upon: 1) micro- level properties of the shoe-floor-contaminant interface, and 2) macro-level designs of the shoe and floor. The micro-level model will be validated using tribological COF testing. The macro- level model will be compared to slip resistance testers, including a new robotic-based High Payload Precision Slipmeter (HPPS) developed by the investigators. The macro-level model outputs will also be compared to actual human slips and falls during gait to determine the efficacy in predicting slips and/or falls. Thus, the three specific aims are: 1) Develop and validate a micro-level tribological model of the shoe-floor-contaminant interface based upon material properties, surface microstructure and contaminant characteristics. 2) Develop a macro-level model of the shoe-floor-contaminant interface that incorporates the micro-level model and macro-level shape and asperities (i.e. tread). 3) Conduct human slipping experiments to validate the macro-model with actual slip/fall events. If successful, this model will be able to be used in the evaluation and, more importantly, the design of shoes and floors for various environments.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01OH008986-03
Application #
8298047
Study Section
Safety and Occupational Health Study Section (SOH)
Program Officer
Frederick, Linda J
Project Start
2010-08-01
Project End
2014-07-31
Budget Start
2012-08-01
Budget End
2014-07-31
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$298,949
Indirect Cost
$69,633
Name
University of Pittsburgh
Department
Biomedical Engineering
Type
Schools of Engineering
DUNS #
004514360
City
Pittsburgh
State
PA
Country
United States
Zip Code
15213
Beschorner, Kurt E; Albert, Devon L; Chambers, April J et al. (2014) Fluid pressures at the shoe-floor-contaminant interface during slips: effects of tread and implications on slip severity. J Biomech 47:458-63
Rine, Rosemarie M; Schubert, Michael C; Whitney, Susan L et al. (2013) Vestibular function assessment using the NIH Toolbox. Neurology 80:S25-31