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Winter is on the way: 
how to get your facility prepared

Our recent research revealed that almost a third of facilities management professionals agree that a lack of general maintenance and repair often poses a safety risk and over a quarter have been impacted by slips, trips and falls recently.  

As we move into winter and the weather turns, these challenges are only set to get worse. Here’s our guide to assessing and preparing your facility for the harsher weather conditions ahead:

Conduct a detailed internal and external site inspection

Site inspections help to highlight issues that could become a hazard or deteriorate into more significant damage. Once identified, manageable repairs can be completed.  

Using simple tools such as a maintenance checklist helps to make sure that inspections are thorough and can also be tailored to focus on specific areas in this period that are more prone to weather-related damage.

Once you’ve identified any issues and damaged surfaces, acting quickly is key. By completing the repairs before they grow into large issues, you save money on the products required and free up more of your time for other priorities.  


Allocate time to tackle floor repairs

Floors are one of the areas of a facility that are most susceptible to damage, due to the high footfall they face each day and the heavy-duty machinery that often passes over them. This is why they are frequently found on the repairs list after a site inspection.  

In the winter months, wet weather and colder temperatures makes this problem even more of a priority. For example, following a period of rain, cracks in the floor can fill with water and if the temperature drops overnight, the water can repeatedly freeze and thaw, weakening the surface and often expanding into potholes. This not only poses a serious trip hazard, but can also cause costly damage to vehicles and equipment being transported in that area.  

However, by completing repairs when issues are first identified now, damages such as small cracks can be repaired using a filler. In addition to being quicker and more budget-friendly, this also leads to less downtime required before the space is fully in use again. 

Prevent the risk of slips, trips and falls

When preparing for the winter months, facilities managers should pay particular attention to areas that pose a greater risk of accidents. For example, where rain has blown in through open doors and loading bays, making the floor wet or on external slopes and stairs that have become wet and icy.  

Within a facility, anti slip products such as coatings and matting can be used to increase grip and reduce the risk of slips and falls. Whereas, for external surfaces such as steps, you can apply GRP treads and nosings to increase grip and highlight the edges. By making them more visible, you can reduce the potential for trips, particularly in the dark winter mornings and evenings.

Wet floor

Managing damp and water penetration

Damp, leaks and excess moisture in floors and walls are common but can cause serious problems if not dealt with properly when the harsher, wetter weather arrives.  

Concrete is porous by nature which means it can absorb and hold water. Concrete floors should have a damp proof membrane (DPM) underneath to prevent water from seeping in and penetrating the floor. However, if the DPM fails or is not present, you could end up with rising damp which damages the floor surface but also creates an unpleasant environment for employees and visitors.  

Water penetration also frequently comes to light in the winter. It can be caused by issues including mortar deterioration, masonry damage, broken roof tiles, blocked downpipes or leaking gutters. Action must be taken to manage this before surfaces become damaged and hazards are created by unexpected pooling water from a leaky roof.  

To fully protect your facility, you should also damp proof the walls both externally and internally to prevent water ingress and mould growth. This will help to ensure a well-maintained, pleasant working environment. 

Ultimately, a proactive approach to site assessment and repairs before the harsh winter weather arrives can save you from a headache further down the line. Approaching repairs and maintenance proactively leads to improved operational efficiency, cost savings, and most importantly, keeps those using the space safe.

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