Risk management programs seek to identify and analyze the risks that may arise during the usual course of business. These anticipatory programs go a step further by prioritizing those risks and setting forth a plan to control their potentially negative impact on business. In Part I of the Your Facility’s Risk Management Plan series, the Eagle Mat Blog will explore ways in which the outdoor areas leading up to a facility entry way can be made a safer place for all.
Although each business is unique, most encounter very similar areas of potential liability. It is within these areas where risk management plays a vital role in anticipating and overcoming situations that may cause injury, litigation, and a significantly negative impact on performance.
The editorial staff of the Eagle Mat Blog has identified four main areas that warrant the attentive consideration of business owners and facility managers who practice risk management. These areas include outdoor entry areas, indoor lobbies, production areas, and elevators. One common denominator shared by each of the aforementioned areas: Traffic. Each experiences a moderate to high degree of employee and visitor traffic relative to the rest of the facility.
The areas noted above share an even more important characteristic: Each can be made a safer place with simple and cost effective safety products. Today, we begin Part I of our series by examining the outdoor areas leading up to your facility’s entry.
Part I: Outdoor Entry Areas
The concrete sidewalks, stairs, and entry areas that lead to the front of a commercial building present a high degree of risk for owners and managers. These areas and structural elements are hidden from direct managerial oversight, simply in virtue of their location outdoors. It is tempting to consider the risks associated with these areas as “out of sight, out of mind,” but doing so could prove to be a costly mistake. Though technically “outside” the doors of the facility, property owners may still become liable for accidents that occur on the sidewalks, stairs, and entry areas if they are part of the physical property (barring any municipal setbacks, liens, or acquisitions of land, for example).
Unpredictable weather patterns make the risks associated with outdoor entry areas even greater. Unforeseen rain, snow, and ice can turn a safe area into a dangerous one overnight. It is important to invest in durable and weatherproof safety products that will provide traction at all times. A few of these products include:
Stair Treads: Stair treads cover the stepping surfaces of stairs, adding traction to otherwise uncovered and potentially slippery surfaces. Stair treads feature unique surface designs for added texture/grip and are available in rubber, vinyl, and aluminum. Stair cove risers are also available to cover the vertical space (the ‘rise’) in between stepping surfaces. Though they provide far less utility than stair treads, risers serve an important aesthetic function for businesses that desire well-coordinated colors, designs, and textures throughout their exteriors.
Rubber Matting: These commercial-grade rubber floor mats are made of 100% Nitrile for incredible resistance to heavy traffic, unpredictable weather, and aggressive cleaning. The Rubber Scraper Mat stands out as a particularly functional and durable product capable of controlling large amounts of dirt and grime. For Green Businesses, the Rubber Scraper ECO Mat provides the same cleaning ability in an equally resilient yet eco-friendly construction.
Polypropylene Mats: Polypropylene is a weatherproof material common to many types of indoor and outdoor entrance mats. The most well known of these are called Waterhog mats, and they feature a highly resilient “crush-proof” surface that digs into shoes to remove dirt, moisture, and other debris. Waterhog mats are also backed with 100% Nitrile rubber to keep them held securely in place all day long.
Anti Slip Grit Tape: Grit tape is most commonly used along the mild inclines of loading docks to provide traction for those who load and unload trucks daily. Rain, snow, and ice would make the process of loading and unloading trucks nearly impossible without grit tape. Grit tape is an ideal addition to wheelchair ramps as well. Note: Facilities must take measures to shovel snow and de-ice ramps for grit tape to work effectively.
Next Week on the Eagle Mat Blog
Be sure to return to the Eagle Mat Blog next week for Part II of the Your Facility’s Risk Management Plan. In our second installment, we will evaluate the inherent risks associated with the lobbies and reception areas just inside the entrance of the facility. We will see that weather plays a critical role in risk management for indoor areas as well, and we will explore several safety products that keep these areas clean and safe throughout the day.