Anytime you are building something that is intended to host a large amount of people, safety should be at the forefront of your design plans. When it comes to bleacher seating, slipping is among the biggest and most important safety threats to account for during the design and manufacturing process.
Whether located indoors or outdoors, aluminum bleachers ultimately present certain safety hazards to the people who use them. For outside bleachers, with constant exposure to the elements and varying weather conditions, the risk for slippery surfaces is somewhat obvious. Wet surfaces, particularly those constructed of aluminum or steel, can quickly become hazards if not properly designed and treated. In fact, there are an estimated 8 million cases of injury related to slips and falls each year in the United States alone.
In an effort to mitigate the risk of injury by slippery surfaces, we abide by the Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF) rating system implemented by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) to rank how slippery a surface is, thus giving us an idea of how safe it is to walk on.
In the case of bleachers, look for a high SCOF rating, as the higher the SCOF, the lower the chance of slippage. Basically, SCOF is measuring the amount of force that it will take to create grip and reduce the danger.
A generally recognized safe rating is .50 and above for a variety of surfaces but when it comes to rating these surfaces, they are generally broken down into three groups: high traction, moderate traction and low traction. To play it on the safe side, it is a good idea to have a .60 SCOF rating or above, which places the product or surface in the high-traction grouping.
People go to events and sit in bleachers with a general sense of security and it is our job to ensure that security and safety.