Question: We plow our parking lot and shovel the snow from the sidewalks in the winter, but people still track a lot of snow into the building. Is there something that can be put in the entryway to absorb snowmelt and provide traction so that no one slips and falls?
Answer: You can prevent slips and falls while absorbing liquid tracked into the building with the PIG® Grippy® Floor Mat, which has been popular with our customers who want to swap their traditional rental entrance mats with a more absorbent mat that prevents accidents. Because the PIG® Grippy® Floor Mat has an adhesive backing, it will stay exactly where you put it while quickly absorbing rain, snowmelt and other liquids that customers and employees track into the building.
It’s great that you want to prevent slips and falls, but you should also have a plan to care for entryways when there is bad weather. Having the tools and equipment necessary allows everyone to act quickly to keep water in check and everyone on their feet.
Consider the eight following best management practices as part of a bad weather plan:
1. Keep Parking Lots and Sidewalks in Good Condition
Cracks, potholes and other surface imperfections allow rainwater, snow and ice to collect. This can cause slippery surfaces outdoors and allow additional water to be tracked into the building. Filling cracks and potholes will help prevent these problems and makes plowing or shoveling the parking lot and sidewalks easier.
2. Remove Snow and Ice Before Employees and Patrons Arrive
Plowing parking lots and shoveling sidewalks in advance of everyone’s arrival helps prevent slips and falls outdoors and minimizes the amount of snow that is tracked into the building. If these services are contracted, ensure that the contract specifies that snow and ice will be removed at least 45 minutes before the start of business.
3. Obtain and Replace Supplies in the Off-Season
It can be difficult to purchase shovels, ice melt and heat torches during the winter months – especially after the first snow of the season. Although these items can take valuable storage space, having an adequate supply before the first snow is an important step in preparedness.
4. Use Scraper Mats Outside
Scraper mats are an important first line of defense in keeping dirt and water out of a building. The deep, coarse pile of a scraper mat helps to brush snow, dirt and water off of people’s feet as they walk over it. Look for mats that allow water to drain into a basin, which are easy to maintain.
5. Consider Canopies Over Entrances
Because they don’t have walls, canopies won’t completely prevent employees from tracking rain and snow into buildings, but canopies will keep a majority of rain and snow away from doors. They also help to maximize the value of scraper mats and provide people with a dry area to put down their umbrellas before they enter the building.
6. Use Absorbent Mats Inside Entrances
Rental entrance mats are a staple in building entryways. Most are made of polyester, nylon or other man-made fibers that are long wearing, but non-absorbent. This means that even after walking over them, peoples’ feet may not be dry and people may track water well beyond an entryway.
Rental mats also tend to buckle and fray over time, causing a trip hazard. An adhesive-backed mat, such as the PIG® Grippy® Floor Mat, is a great choice for entrances because it stays exactly where you put it without bunching or slipping. It also absorbs liquids quickly and can be swept, mopped or vacuumed easily.
7. Ensure Walk-Off Matting Is Long Enough
Very few people wipe their feet when they enter a building. Because of this, entrance mats need to be long enough for people to take at least six steps on the mat to dry their feet before stepping off the mat. Ten-to 20-foot mats usually provide the distance necessary to take six steps.
8. Determine the Need for Floor Dryers, Vacuums, Mops, Buckets and Other Tools
Sometimes bad weather wins and parking lots and sidewalks can’t be kept clear. When this happens, scraper mats and entrance matting become over-saturated and other tools are needed to keep entrances clean and dry.
Floor dryers and wet/dry vacuums can help to dry mats and floors rapidly. Mops and buckets can serve as an additional line of defense. When these items are in use, be sure to clearly identify them so that they do not become a tripping hazard.
Weather forecasts make it easier to predict when bad weather is going to happen. But don’t wait for the meteorologist. Having a bad weather floor safety plan and the right tools and equipment available ensures entryway will be maintained and slips, trips and falls hazards will be minimized.