Keeping polished concrete floors pristine and safe for your factory’s employees is no small feat! And for facility managers – especially in high-traffic areas like factories – this becomes all the more important. Let’s talk through why keeping your concrete floors in great shape is crucial for safety, what it can do for the appearance of your facility, and steps to take to ensure your floors are properly taken care of.
Depending on the industry, a workplace can be full of health and safety risks. And since employees spend the majority of their time in the facilities where they’re working, these hazards only increase. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2,607,900 non-fatal and 5,190 fatal work-related injuries reported in 2021. Work-related fatalities due to falls, slips, and trips increased 5.6% in 2021, from 805 fatalities in 2020 to 850 in 2021. These numbers are alarming when you consider how many lives were lost over the course of a year from slips and falls alone.
Taking this into account, consider also that factories are particularly high-risk environments. Operating heavy machinery, working with hazardous materials, moving heavy objects, and using stairs, ladders, and gangways – employees who work in factories have a lot to be aware of at all times.
So when it comes to your concrete flooring, the last thing you want is for things to go awry with your team’s safety and wellbeing due to preventable circumstances. Walkways must be clear, slip-resistant, and free of debris to ensure that your factory’s employees don’t injure themselves.
For factories and other industrial buildings, commercial concrete flooring is the optimal material. Concrete is resistant to wear and tear more than most any other material used for flooring. It’s incredibly durable and, when well cared for, boasts a lifespan of 100 years or more. Spills are easy to mop up and generally won’t destroy the concrete material (unless they’re particularly hazardous or abrasive).
Concrete is not only resistant to the pressure put on it in such a high-traffic and hazardous area as a factory, but it is also resistant to things that might be aesthetically displeasing, like stains, scratches, or dents. Further, well-maintained concrete is resistant to odors, which means your factory’s floors won’t smell terrible, regardless of how many people are traipsing across them each and every day.
Three more things that concrete boasts resistance to are especially key. One is bacteria. This is an important thing to consider if your factory processes food of any kind. Spoiled or bacteria-ridden food spilled on your concrete floors shouldn’t cause an issue with leaching into the concrete, as long as the concrete is disinfected and properly cleared of the debris. Another element that concrete resists is water. This is especially important because water damage is one of the leading causes of deterioration of a floor’s foundations and can also lead to mold, mildew, and other harmful bacteria and fungi that could become airborne, leading to poor air quality and respiratory risks for your building’s occupants.
Finally, concrete is resistant to fire. This is absolutely critical in such a high-risk environment as a factory, where electrical equipment and wiring, potentially hazardous materials, and flames and sparks might all create fire risks. Having a concrete factory floor decreases your chances of the rapid spread of fire, but keep in mind that having a solid fire safety plan in place and communicating it to anyone in your facility is always paramount.
Concrete floors, especially in a factory, will need to be cleaned day in and day out. This is a multi-step process that could take up to a few hours a day, depending on the size of your space. (If that sounds like too much time or productivity lost, you’ll certainly want to hire a floor care company rather than foregoing daily cleaning!)
First, concrete flooring – whether polished, stained, sealed, or painted – should be cleared completely of dirt, dust, and debris. This can often happen through the simple use of brooms and dustpans, dust mops, or a vacuum. Next, the floor should be mopped thoroughly using warm water. While some facility managers opt for warm water and a mild cleaning solution, others may use dishwashing liquid. For factory managers, you should certainly consider using a commercial product that is pH-neutral and specially formulated for your specific type of concrete flooring and its finish. Don't use ammonia, bleach, or other acidic substances on polished or stamped floors, or you risk damaging the material beneath.
Finally, run back over your concrete floor with clean water and a wet mop to remove any solution. Then, allow the floor to air dry completely before anyone walks across its surface. Regularly cleaning your concrete floor is the number one way to ensure your factory employees stay safe, you stay abreast of any damage or disrepair, and your facility looks sparkling clean and aesthetically pleasing day in and day out.
Facility managers may be wondering about long-term care of concrete floors beyond the daily cleaning required to keep floors looking spic and span. After all, how do you maintain a finished concrete floor? Particularly in a high-traffic area like a factory, which may be full of dust and debris, how could concrete floors possibly stay polished and aesthetically pleasing?
Most concrete floors benefit from getting professionally polished roughly every two to three years. But for factories, this may be a bit more frequent depending on the amount of foot and vehicle traffic, as well as any wear and tear. A facility solutions support provider should take great care with this process, using specialized equipment. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just slap on a coat of floor polish and hope your concrete flooring looks top-notch afterward.
The polishing process for concrete floors may include diamond-grit grinding, burnishing and/or buffing, scrubbing, and refinishing with a top-of-the-line polish formulated specifically for your concrete floors. You should not attempt to execute this project alone. A DIY polish or stain job can go terribly wrong and leave you with streaky or uneven flooring, which could pose risks of trips and falls for your factory’s employees.
A critical part of concrete floor care is knowing when it’s time to repair or replace the material itself. The truth is that while concrete does make for one of the most resistant flooring materials, it still can be damaged. And leaving that damage unattended could cause structural issues, trips and falls, and other problems.
As you regularly clean your concrete floors, be on the lookout for damage like crumbling, pitting, peeling, or flaking, as well as dents or scratches – which can happen in a severe enough incident. Any of this kind of damage typically means you should consider making small patch repairs if possible, or completely replacing the floors as soon as your budget and schedule allow. Remember, well-maintained floors are critical to employee safety and facility maintenance, so don’t let damage and deterioration be left in a state of risky disrepair.
Keep your factory safe and functional this year! The Budd Group is ready to partner with you in 2023. We serve clients throughout the Southeast United States, offering ample facility support solutions ranging from landscaping and disinfecting to repairs, maintenance, and janitorial services. And we’ve got experts in concrete floor care specifically. We’ve been in the business for over 60 years and have a team of hard-working, knowledgeable subject matter experts.
The Budd Group also offers our “Make It Right” guarantee, which means we promise to provide thorough, professional, and timely service. If we complete a job and you’re unsatisfied, we’ll “make it right” – it’s our promise! Clients love how much The Budd Group can complete in terms of facility maintenance – we’re your one-stop shop for all things janitorial, maintenance, disinfection, and specialty services. This is great news for factory managers – you don’t have to worry about invoicing many different companies or working with a host of different teams in order to keep your facility in great shape. We work on your schedule and complete tasks on time, providing excellent customer service and state-of-the-art equipment.
From pristine landscaping to COVID disinfection to construction project cleanup, we are able and willing to effectively manage any issue that arises in your facility. Having a facility maintenance provider like The Budd Group, on call for regular cleaning, deep cleaning, and any other facility maintenance issues is a smart choice. Keep employees, guests, and students safe by working with The Budd Group.
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