Prepare Your Workplace Against Seasonal Hazards

November 2, 2021

Author: Staples Professional Inc.

It’s never too early to plan for winter. In fact, it’s crucial this year given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recent hiccups in global supply chains. As businesses and institutions continue to reopen, expect heavy demand on common winter supplies. Stock up now to avoid disappointment later.

Here are nine winter essentials to have on hand, according to Staples Professional Facility Sales Managers, Chris Robertson and Chris Gassi.

OUTDOORS

1. ICE MELTER
Get rid of icy snow before it sets. A robust supply of ice melt (deicer typically made up of sodium chloride, magnesium chloride pellets, and calcium chloride pellets) — not rock salt — will help protect against outdoor slip-and-fall hazards.
“Ice melt works to about minus 30 degrees Celsius, and a lot of the products are more environmentally friendly [than rock salt]. It doesn’t burn the grass. It doesn’t burn pets’ feet if they walk on it. It’s not as damaging to concrete and walkways. It’s just a better product,” says Robertson.

2. ICE MELTER ACCESSORIES
Most larger workplaces find it most economical to order ice melt bags by the skid load. Don’t forget additional accessories like:

• Spreaders
• Shovels
• Shakers
• Wheelbarrows
• Gloves

For smaller businesses, skip the accessories and opt for ice melt in a 5kg jug. This format has a built-in shaker lid. “Just hold it by the handle and pour it out,” says Gassi.

3. WINTER PPE
Harsh winter weather requires season-specific Personal Protective Equipment for outdoor workers. These items protect against cold, snow, icy rain and wind, and if required, ensure staff is visible to drivers and cyclists:

• Gloves
• Toques
• High visibility vests, parkas, jackets
• Lip balm, face protection

4. TRACTION AIDS
Traction aids are essential if your organization has team members working outside or traveling offsite.

“So many people are working remotely now — even teachers or nurses or doctors — and they’re making house visits in the middle of the winter in places like Northern Alberta or Eastern Canada, where the weather’s terrible. If that person’s going out to do their job and they slip, that’s a liability,” says Gassi.

Protect your team with traction aids. These plastic-spike platforms slip underneath regular footwear to provide extra grip in icy conditions.

INDOORS

5. MATS
Consider upgrading from rental to in-house mats. This switch can trim your maintenance budget while improving safety and cleanliness.

“Rental mats are generally fairly low quality. They can’t be heavy because the drivers have to bring them onto the van [for cleaning and delivery],” says Robertson. These low-quality mats can’t absorb snow melt as effectively as deeper pile, high quality mats.

Many businesses are already cleaning their own mats between rental pickups, so why not invest in premium mats that can absorb more, and which can be refreshed each night with a wet vac and neutralizer?

6. CHEMICAL NEUTRALIZERS
Whether your organization is on a weekly mat rental program or owns its own mats, a chemical neutralizer is essential to keep mats and carpeting free of salt stains and smelling fresh. Use it for touch-ups and regular deep cleaning.

7. SIGNAGE
Keep your staff and visitors aware of current COVID-19 safety protocols and of seasonal hazards like wet and slippery floors.

8. COVID-19 RELATED PPE
With a season of indoor living (shopping, dining, working) ahead of us, make sure your office, retail location, restaurant, warehouse or other workplace is equipped with adequate PPE, including:

• Masks
• Face coverings
• Face shields
• Sanitizer
• Gloves

9. AIR PURIFICATION
Commercial-grade air purifiers remain in high demand in late 2021 as organizations look to boost the effectiveness of their HVAC systems. But even a best-in-class air purification system is only as effective as its filter: always change filters on the schedule advised by the manufacturer. And be prepared with a robust supply of replacement filters.

“Filters are going into high demand, and as more businesses go back to onsite work, we’re going to see that even more,” notes Gassi.

Did you know Staples Professional provides free workplace audits? Our Facility Solutions experts can provide your organization with recommendations on PPE, mats and other maintenance essentials.

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