Winter weather is fast approaching, meaning that building and cleaning professionals must make sure their facilities are ready for gusting winds, snowstorms, cold temperatures and harsh winter weather. Even cleaning professionals in warmer climates must also be diligent. Often, an unexpected snowstorm or icy rain impacts these areas even worse than colder areas.
One big concern, of course, is preventing slip and fall accidents. Slip and fall accidents account for close to eight million hospital emergency room visits in the U.S. each year. As to medical costs, the amounts are staggering, totaling more than $70 billion annually.
According to JoAnn Boston, business development manager for Crown Mats and Matting, there are steps managers and cleaning professionals can take to help keep properties safer not only during the cold winter months, but also throughout the year.
Ten Steps to Winter Facility Safety
1. Take extra precautions to keep outdoor areas clutter and debris free.
2. Have ice melt on hand and place it on sidewalks and surrounding walkways before a storm arrives.
3. Ensure building entries have proper lighting and leave outdoor lights on all day during adverse weather conditions.
4. Inspect gutters, downspouts and outdoor water sources for leakage. These areas can form ice patches during freezing weather.
5. Inspect and repair walkway cracks or depressions where ice may accumulate.
6. Install a matting system at all building entries; this refers to 15 feet of matting made up of scraper, wiper/scraper and wiper mats.
7. Keep mats and interior floor areas clean and dry throughout the day.
8. Have cleaning professionals patrol indoor and outdoor areas, looking for potential hazards.
9. Install warning signs and cones at entries and walkways.
10. Make sure insurance coverage is up to date.

"Having a matting system is especially important during the winter months," adds Boston. "Each part of the system plays a different role, but working together they help keep shoe bottoms — and facilities — clean and dry."