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Employee safety is being put at risk by lack of general maintenance

Over a quarter (26 per cent) of warehouse workers have been impacted by slips, trips and falls in the past year, according to new research from Watco.

The survey of 250 facilities management professionals also revealed that almost half (42 per cent) felt that wet and slippery surfaces, damaged floors and a lack of general maintenance pose the largest risk to the health and safety of employees at their site.

Sometimes a slip or trip can be relatively minor, but occasionally they can cause serious accidents and lead to costly claims. In fact, from 2017/18–2019/20, an estimated 971,000 working days were lost due to slip, trip and fall injuries in the UK, according to Health and Safety Executive statistics.

Scott Saunders, Technical Service Manager at Watco commented: “Whether you are in your workplace or at home, when the weather changes and suddenly snow, ice and rain gets traipsed around from outside, hazards become more common. But there are multiple ways businesses can ensure they are protecting employees.

“To start with, it may seem obvious, but good housekeeping, like ensuring puddles are cleared up as soon as they are spotted or regularly dust mopping, is vital. For hazards which are a bit more difficult to clean – or even see – such as oil and grease spills from heavy-duty machinery, a degreaser is the perfect solution.

“Naturally, during the winter, rain, sleet and snow will end up in areas of your warehouse if you have movement into and out of the building or roller shutter doors in use. Using anti-slip solutions, such as Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) sheets, will provide added grip and an extra layer of protection to stop people falling when spills happen. GRP sheets come with the added benefit that when they are being applied, the area is out of action for minimal time because you don’t have to wait for it to dry.”

In addition, the survey found that over a third (34 per cent) of facilities management professionals go over budget on urgent repair work to remove hazards and two thirds (64 per cent) of facilities managers say a lack of general maintenance often, or occasionally, poses a safety risk within their business.

Saunders continued: “General maintenance is the key to keeping costs down. It can be easy to see a small crack and think, that can wait – especially when there are so many other plates to balance! But, as is the common phrase, prevention really is better than cure. Leaving problems can only mean that there is a more dangerous and costly issue to deal with later down the line.

“Using sealants, such as an epoxy resin mortar, will leave a hard-wearing finish that prevents further cracks appearing and is also protected from the extra moisture in the air during winter months. Keeping on top of general maintenance can have other added benefits, such as reducing downtime and increasing productivity.”

Watco has created a free eBook providing more information on how to prevent slips this winter.

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