The warehouse floor is often taken for granted, but it’s one of the most important parts of any warehouse and needs proper care and attention all year round.

Because the main activity of the warehouse – receiving, storing, retrieving and despatching goods – takes place on the floor and many warehouses these days work 24/7, warehouse floors need to be hardwearing and require minimum day to day attention, beyond keeping them clean and dry. At the same time, they must be looked after properly to ensure consistent operational efficiency.

In today’s high-level warehouses, the flatness of the floor is critical, when the racking to be ‘true’ to great heights and for fork trucks and VNA trucks to operate. As warehouses become increasingly automated, robots and AGV’s need to be able to move around smoothly. Twintec, who appear in this feature, are among the specialist flooring contractors who both install new floors and provide floor repair services, grinding worn and damaged floor slabs to high levels of flatness, by grinding the slabs, re-sealing it and then polishing it.

On their website, logistics property specialists Prologis set out their guidelines for maintaining concrete warehouse floors.

Working with Stanford Flooring, they have written Maintaining Concrete Floors Means Long-Term Cost Savings, guiding occupiers through the necessary steps to keep their floors in good working order.

Prologis’s Technical Insight is worth bearing in mind for anyone running a warehouse, renters or owners. If there’s a fault with the floor, is it a one-off construction defect or a maintenance issue caused by day-to-day wear and tear? From there, Prologis’s guidelines say, warehouse teams need to look at regular cleaning requirements, equipment and materials; deal with spillages; rectify surface wear, cracks and damage; maintain and repair floor joints; and put in place an inspection and action schedule.

The bottom line is, warehouse floors are not indestructible and won’t last forever. With forklifts and other machinery moving over them day in day out, inevitably they get damaged and worn. For businesses who own their own premises, monitoring the state of the floor and maintaining it is one more job for the warehouse manager and his colleagues. In the case of rented warehouses, with a scheduled maintenance programme in place, occupants can reduce the likelihood of unexpected repairs in the course of business and, especially if the floor is neglected and allowed to get worn, having to fork out significant amounts to make the floor good when they leave.

And lastly there’s the risk of accidents. Slips and trips are a major cause of warehouse injuries, lost working time and compensation claims. As the HSE advise, people do not slip or trip by chance. Warehouse managers can take simple steps to greatly reduce the risk of workers having accidents. Measures include trying out different types of footwear to see which provides most slip-resistance and encouraging a ‘see it, clear it’ culture to keep the workplace clean and tidy. The HSE also advises avoiding the need for workers to carry large or heavy objects over slippery surfaces, as these can obscure a person’s view and prevent them catching their fall if they do slip. Take care.

BILL REDMOND

Features Editor