June 2, 2017

By the Way, How is Your Floor at Work?

By Paul Bieber

More injuries and accidents occur because of poorly maintained floors. There are trip hazards; there are pot holes; there are locations where glass is sticking out on a dolly and there are locations where glass storage is not well planned and glass breakage is common. C’mon folks, these points are all under your control, you can’t blame anyone else. So let’s talk about some solutions.

Step one: Accept the fact that this is a problem. I have seen only a handful of companies that do this right. I can’t mention names, but the ones who care know who they are.  

Step two: Let’s look at your shop floor. Do you have a slip-and-fall prevention program? Look at areas where water seeps in or there is wood dust on a floor. Can wet leaves blow in when you have your garage doors open? They are as bad as a banana peel. You prevent slips and falls by training your full company on the dangers of a fall and make them aware of situations where falls occur.

Step three: Do you have some absorbent materials in your shop? There are fancy ones, but I have found that kitty litter works well. Every company has a truck that pulls in and leaves some water from an air conditioner, or worse a drop or two of oil.

Step four: Have you marked your floor with tape? Floor tape helps you describe safe walking areas and forklift lanes. Always put tape in front of your electrical panel(s) so folks know not to store anything in front of them.

Step five: Look at every bump or pothole in your floor. Each one is a cause for an accident. You are pushing a dolly and the glass bumps off and happens to fall on a coworker. This will generally be the most expensive part of a floor program.

Step six: Assign one or two people to keep the floor clean. Pick up litter, help move glass into a safer area, keep floors clean using brooms, mops and solvent spill materials. This person is not to clean up other folks’ mess. If coworkers can’t put their lunch wrapper in a container, they need a stiff talking to.

Step seven: Are there places where you need to place a slip-resistant flooring? Do you have areas that are wet during the day, like in front of a sander or edger? If you are in a snow area, do you have rugs at the entry door to collect water?  

Step eight: Put together a rough budget on what it would take to fix all of the problems. This might not be done in one year. You may want to do this over a couple of years. Even if does take two years, it is worth it. You will, in the long run, lower your workers comp costs, have healthier employees and less glass breakage. This is a winning program. Do it now.