Preparing for Winter

Tips and tricks for cutting costs and staying safe this winter.

When it comes to winter, facility managers have to plan ahead. Employee and customer safety is always a top priority, but you also need to consider and prevent the damaging effects that salt and sand can have on your facility.

It's never too early to start thinking about how to keep your building safe, clean and operating efficiently throughout the long winter months. Here's what you can do now to prepare for the upcoming inclement weather:

Prep your floors and tools

Before winter weather arrives, carpets and flooring should be cleaned, and where appropriate, recoated to add protection from the moisture and other debris that may be tracked in during the winter months. Floor equipment should be serviced and checked for safe and reliable operation, and equipment filters cleaned.

Review your lighting

It's much easier to make changes to things like your building's lighting fixtures when the weather is still nice. Evaluate your building's light fixtures. Consider upgrading to LED because LED technology is not just for energy savings, LED bulbs are also not affected by cold, which ensures dependable and effective lighting through the winter months.

Get ready to turn up the heat

When cold weather hits, you'll hear the complaints if the office isn't the right temperature. Check your HVAC filters and vents to be sure they're clean and clear of obstructions and ready for efficient heating of the whole building. Take a walk around the entire building and look for those potentially unsafe, inexpensive, personal portable heaters that employees may have under their desks.

Evaluate your building's entryways

A majority of building cleanup needs is caused by what has been tracked in on the shoes of the people using the building. A thorough review of your building's entryways can help you identify floor mat improvements and scope out areas that will need additional attention in the case of rain, snow or ice. Installing quality, absorbent floor mats will help keep residue from being tracked into the building.

Review your supplies

It's a good idea to get ahead of winter storms and have ice melt on hand and ready to go when snow, sleet and freezing rain hits. Entryways and parking lots can get messy and dangerous as coworkers track in ice melt and melting snow. Make sure you have a good cleaning solution that will keep floors safe, along with floor safety signage to warn of hazards. Do your research while it's warm so you know what to purchase before you need it. Consider investing in an ice melt spreader for long-term savings, as hand spreading of these materials wastes product and is less effective.

Be safe for the season

As you know, inclement weather carries with it a higher risk of injury on the job and other safety-related issues. With that in mind, it's a good idea to use the months leading up to winter to do a safety check of your building. Are first aid kits, fire extinguishers and automated external defibrillators available, stocked and ready for use? Make sure equipment and protective clothing is available and sized properly for those who need it. If your area is prone to ice buildups, ice traction devices are a must for worker safety. Whether we like it or not, winter is coming. This year, get ahead of it and make sure you're prepared.