Did you know that slips and falls are the most significant cause of non-fatal injuries in UK workplaces? And what’s most frustrating is that most of those accidents are entirely avoidable. So, if you're looking to protect staff AND revenue, you need to know how to deal with wet floors in your workplace.
Slips and falls accounted for 33% of the 441,000 self-reported workplace injuries in 2020/21. Take into account that a further 25% of those injuries resulted in illness absence of over seven days, and it becomes clear that warehouses, factories, and offices with high foot traffic need to develop strategies to keep their floors dry and clean.
And while many factors contribute to wet, dirty, and slippery floors, adopting a safety-first approach with appropriate matting and cleaning equipment is proven to help maintain workforce safety.
This article explores how to deal with wet floors in warehouses, factories, and offices, helping protect your workforce AND your company’s productivity.
You've trained your staff in appropriate Health and Safety activities. And you've plastered your walls with safety signage.
There are many sources of wet floors, including:
Some of these factors are innate and beyond reasonable mitigation. But it is possible to minimise the potential for slips and falls in those environments with appropriate matting and flooring.
Accidents often happen when your employees are tired from spending long periods on their feet. Anti-fatigue mats minimise muscle fatigue in the feet and legs by softening the floor's texture, which — in turn — improves blood flow while boosting energy and focus.
Choose the most suitable matting for your warehouse or factory and gain a super-durable self-draining floor surface that helps boost productivity while maintaining maximum safety for your valuable workforce.
According to podiatric specialist Nina L. Colleta, anti-fatigue matting positively impacts foot pain by relieving stress and discomfort in environments likely to demand repetitive actions, such as in warehouses and factory floors.
But Colleta acknowledges that there's no one-size-fits-all fix for anti-fatigue matting, explaining that you should select your floor covering based on the specific needs of your operation.
They recommend finding matting that’s:
Ultimately, you need a mat that maintains its shape under stress, remains in place, and offers optimal under-mat drainage to prevent the mat from slipping.
Sweating Slab Syndrome (SSS) occurs when moisture develops over the surface of interior concrete flooring, causing slippiness even if the environment is otherwise dry and seemingly safe.
Indeed, SSS poses a risk to both employees and machinery.
According to Concrete Construction, loaded forklift trucks are particularly hazardous in environments suffering from SSS. They told us of one occasion where a loaded forklift truck slid from a loading dock and into the path of an incoming trailer, causing damage to stock and a potentially severe threat to the floor staff.
Sweating Slab Syndrome can be overcome with additional ventilation, preventing humidity build-up, but this is not practical in some warehouse settings. And in those cases, heavy-duty forklift truck mats will prevent wheel slippage, protecting both operational staff and stored product.
Additionally, forklift truck mats prevent the spread of dirt and water from outside, helping improve warehouse cleanliness and safety. The waffle mat pattern helps scrub moisture and dirt from the wheels, helping keep the warehouse floors clean and dry.
One of the most significant causes of wet floors inside your building is the mud and rainwater caught in the grips of workers' shoes. Waffle mats help by trapping dirt, water and debris, helping keep work floors clean and dry.
Placing barrier mats at building entrances helps remove dust, dirt, and grime from footwear before it's trodden onto your workplace floors.
And extra-large matting is even more effective at removing debris from outdoor shoes — if your matting is stepped on with both feet, you're more likely to keep your floors clean and dry.
Some floor surfaces wear out over time, and worn surfaces become slippery even when dry. Hire a tribometer to assess the friction and wear of your walkways to identify the potential for slips and falls.
Stairways are particularly prone to wear and tear. Reduce the risk of accidents with anti-slip GRP nosing and stair treads, including floor sheets and high-grip tapes for other high-traffic floors and surfaces.
These durable anti-slip surfaces are proven to minimise the risk of slippage on high-traffic floors.
Thinking about minimising the impact of the wet floors in your workspaces? FirstMat.co.uk can help.
Based in the Midlands - and with a 5-star rating on Trustpilot - our friendly experts will help you make the right decisions for your specific workplace needs.See our full range of Warehouse Equipment for quality products for your warehouse.
Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.