Within every building facility manager’s remit concern for health and safety must always occupy centre stage yet this key area seems neglected when floor care is considered. Slips, trips and falls top the league table of accidents in the workplace and much of that arises over floor neglect. The problem can be exacerbated where VNA trucks are used in high bay warehouses. But it is not only the present which exercises warehouse management minds.

Many warehouses are leased and at the end of the lease the issue of dilapidations must be handled. Long-term neglect of floors will not only impact current operations but also incur a final, hefty bill for repairs covered by the repairing obligations of the lease. Given that landlords will press for an extensive a repair clause as they can extract from tenants it makes sense to maintain a high standard of warehouse operation.

Not all problems can be foreseen, however, and one is dishing of floors owing to poor subsoil conditions under the warehouse floor slab. Fortunately, the remedial costs in such a scenario need not be high, as was once the case with pile driving, for example. Foam injection techniques like those offered by Uretek would solve the problem at a small fraction of the cost and cause hardly any disruption.

A change of materials handling techniques to cope with business expansion often throws up problems with older floors owing to their inadequate floor flatness. A switch from wide aisles to very narrow aisles (VNA) with very tall racking will magnify problems for the handling trucks, whose high masts could collide with racking. Complying with the DIN 15185 floor specification (widely recognised in Germany as the required flatness standard for VNA operations) may not always, however, be good enough because the short wavelength characteristic of the floor could be the underlying problem. This is about how much the floor ‘ripples’ over a short distance and is not controlled in the DIN 15185 standard.

One company hit by this problem was a Stuttgart publisher who had to slow down their VNA trucks because of bumping and shaking as the trucks travelled down the aisles. This meant the trucks had to be operated at well below their designed speed, thus slowing down productivity and raising truck maintenance. Fortunately, the solution was quick and disruption free. Concrete Grinding’s new laser grinder XPT achieved the appropriate flatness in a dust-free operation.

There is a legal requirement under the Workforce Health and Safety and Welfare Regulations 1992 to keep all floors so that they do not contribute to accidents. They should not, therefore, have holes, be uneven or slippery. Many floors can become slippery through normal everyday use. To combat this, operators could consider using an anti-slip flooring system of the kind provided by RSL’s epoxy coating Resucoat HB. These anti slip finishes use an aggregate such as aluminium oxide, which combined with other resin products confers chemical/ abrasion resistant properties that will last for years.

Think of warehouse cleaning and a variety of floor cleaning machines spring to mind but what is, perhaps, far less apparent is air filtration units which are designed to remove and control high dust concentrations. Such machines, like those from Zehnder, however, do more than just keep the premises and stored products clean. They can save up to 70% on their cleaning costs and with improved air quality sickness-related absenteeism can be cut by up to 30%. It is also possible to achieve an additional benefit of forcing warm air downwards in the winter and so reduce heating costs by 20-30%.

Warehouse & Logistics News

1 Comment

  1. Interesting article! You don’t normally think about how the conditions of the warehouse floor can slow down production, but you’re absolutely right.

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