In general, winter can be a mess. It’s really no wonder why facilities and maintenance professionals get right to work once the leaves turn and the weather gets chilly. Fate favors the prepared, and facilities managers know the importance of safety during these months and always need to be ready. 

Safety is first and foremost. Slips and falls can be very serious; these accidents account for 23% of workplace injuries.  Even outside the workplace and in public sector facilities, commercial and healthcare settings, slips and falls are single most preventable form of loss. The best to prevent potential injuries is by paying close attention to any snow or water buildup around entrances or common walkways, and to consider installing slip-resistant mats or walkways in problem areas. If this is too large a task for your business, contact us for regular flooring maintenance solutions.  

Maintenance is the next consideration. The most common ice melting salts are corrosive. The same compounds that accelerate rust on your car can inflict real damage on floors. Even “non-corrosive” de-icing products can cause damage. Protecting floors from the damaging effects of de-icing compounds should be the first line of defense. An accelerated floor cleaning schedule will pick up harmful residue before it can do major damage. 

General cleaning for appearance is the final step in keeping the winter from ruining floors, as wet and windy weather swirls all sorts of debris indoors. Some municipalities use a mixture of salt and sand to provide traction on slippery roads. Anyone who’s been to the beach knows the combination of salt and sand never stays where you put it; it tracks everywhere. Making sure that winter doesn’t dump its trash inside starts with catching debris at the door and vacuuming or sweeping regularly to guarantee it doesn’t travel any farther. 


 Fortunately, there are some simple ways to prepare and make sure winter doesn’t get the upper hand: 

  1. Clear the way. Be proactive about getting snow off walkways, parking lots and drives. Plowing and shoveling should begin when the snow starts and be on-going as the storm progresses. Do not assume that simply shoveling snow has cleared the walkways enough to make traveling safe. Typically, sun-warmed surfaces form a dangerous layer of thin ice under the first layer of snow. Don’t save ice melt for a major weather event; a light daytime dusting of snow can melt and refreeze over the course of a day creating hazardous, slippery conditions by nightfall.  
  1. Cover up with anti-slip coating, resilient flooring, or mats. Minimize the possibility of slips and falls while capturing debris and moisture at the door with anti-slip entrance mats, or by installing resilient flooring with an anti-slip coating. Walk-off mats collect dirt and water and keep it from making its way onto vulnerable carpet or hardwood. Walk off carpeting is designed to accept the wetness and allows water to evaporate quickly.   Ideally, a facility should have about six to ten feet of walk off matting to help clean wintery shoes. 
  1. Keep it cleanWhen winter’s mess wanders off mats, stop its tracks with enhanced commercial cleaning and maintenance. An increased vacuuming schedule also creates a healthier environment and better air quality—not only removing dirt and ice melt, but capturing circulated dust trapped by heating systems. 

Getting your building ready for winter may be an overwhelming operation during this year’s toughest months. If you’re looking for solutions, schedule a comprehensive walk through with one of our flooring experts today and ensure safety and preservation of your interior.  


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