Good maintenance is critical to help eliminate hazards and prevent injuries
Chris Budd, Head of UK Sales at Watco, the UK’s leading manufacturer of industrial strength flooring products, gives advice on staying safe as winter approaches
Slip and fall accidents are one of the top causes of injuries in the workplace and they are far more prevalent in the winter.
Make a plan and assess your workplace risk
The first step is to make a plan and assess your workplace risk. A good way is to start outdoors and work your way inside. Identify outdoor areas that will be used by pedestrians and are most likely to be affected by snow and ice. Examples include outdoor steps, pavements, driveways, ramps, and car parks. Look for anything that could pose a possible hazard.
Put your plan into place
After you have discovered the potential problem areas outside, put your plan into place. Cover walkways if possible to prevent snow from accumulating or ice forming, place warning cones or signs, keep adequate supplies of snow and ice removal tools in readily accessible areas, and shovel and apply ice melt as often as necessary to keep walking areas clear and slip free.
Often forgotten is the overhead risk from falling ice and melting snow on the roof. If the building has a flat roof, it is easy enough to simply shovel the rooftop. Because the roof may be slippery, we suggest Roof Walkway Matting. With its anti slip tread and self-draining open grid system, it creates a safe walkway on flat roofs in any weather. If the roof is sloped, the safest way to remove ice and snow is with a snow rake. Making sure that you are standing at a safe distance away on the ground, not on the roof, pull off the snow with a long-handled roof rake.
Asphalt and tarmac is an increased risk because the ice tends to be invisible on the dark surface. One preventative measure is adding Anti Slip Traffic Paint to any pedestrian walkways. Watco’s Anti Slip Traffic Paint provides a textured non slip surface, is available in multiple colours, and can be used on concrete or asphalt surfaces.
GRP(glass-reinforced plastic) is also an excellent winter safety product. It is available in many different styles, i.e. sheets, treads, and step covers, so it will fit virtually any need you have.
GRP is one of the best forms of slip resistance you can apply to your workplace for winter walking safety, and it's great for external and internal applications. GRP is easy to install on your steps or walkways; simply screw and glue. It provides instant safety and can be installed at any temperature!
Watco’s Roof Walkway Matting also works well on pedestrian walkways, indoors or out, and it is stable in hurricane-force winds (tested in wind conditions up to 94mph).
If you need to make repairs in the cold winter months, Watco’s Road Patch Rapid is ideal for immediate pothole repair. It can be applied from -20°C. If you want to make repairs at low temperatures for concrete, both inside and out, we recommend Concrex® Cold Set. It is ideal for cold rooms and temperatures between 0°C and 10°C. Concrex® Cold Set will harden at low temperatures where conventional mortar will not.
Once you have secured the outside of the building it is time to move inside. Keep your floors clean, dry and free of obstructions. Limit walking to designated walkways as much as possible.
Concrete will become extremely slippery when wet, an anti slip coating will help prevent slips, while protecting floors from contaminants. Watco’s Safety Coat Plus® anti slip floor coating has a very coarse formula for extreme traction. It is suitable for concrete, wood or metal, internally and externally and is also available in a Cold Cure version which can be applied at temperatures as low as 0°C. It combines the toughness required to withstand forklift traffic with anti slip properties, making it an ideal flooring solution for industrial environments.
Place high-quality, water trap mats in entrance ways and walkways subject to water or snow accumulation. Anti fatigue mats will also decrease the risk of slips, as well as provide ergonomic support for the workforce.
Constantly inspect for problem areas as the winter season continues. Keeping the premises in top condition is an essential part of running any successful business. You and your fellow employees deserve a workplace that provides winter walking safety. With prevention and maintenance you can help reduce the risk of someone slipping and falling on your property. www.watco.co.uk