Flooring in industrial facilities can take a beating. They are constantly exposed to harsh chemicals, mechanical abrasion, impact and thermal shock during daily operations. For facility managers who must maintain health and safety as well productivity of a facility, choosing the right flooring system is can be a confusing and daunting task.
The right flooring system is essential in maintaining safety, cleanliness and aesthetics in industrial spaces. Here, we break down four common flooring hazards, and how the correct flooring system can reduce the potential of accidents and unplanned shutdowns.
- Chemical Exposure
From acids and bases to strong solvents, selecting the proper flooring or secondary containment system is key for keeping workers safe and your plant operational. If not properly designed or ignored all together, chemicals spilled onto concrete can cause not only an unsafe environment, but long-term damage to the concrete itself. This can lead to costly shutdowns and structural repairs. Selecting the proper flooring system based on epoxy, novolac or polyurethane cement chemistries will not only prevent these problems, but will also improve the overall aesthetics and cleanliness of your facility.
- Slippery Floors
For facilities that have oily, greasy floors or areas that are constantly wet, ensuring that the flooring system that is installed will provide a safe working environment is paramount. Non-slip flooring systems often incorporate silica sand, colored quartz or aluminum oxide particles into the finishes floor. When designing a flooring system for slip-resistance, understanding how the floor will be cleaned is very important. Will it be power washed? If so, what will the temperature of the water be? Thermal shock can be very hard on the floor and must be taken into account when deciding what system is best. Will the water be pushed to a drain? Does the current concrete floor have the proper slope to ensure this happens? If not, your flooring contractor can re-slope the floor prior to making the installation. This will save you and your employees lots of headaches when it comes to daily cleaning.
- Mechanical Impact and Abrasion
Traffic from heavy equipment or steel wheeled carts can absolutely destroy a flooring system that is not designed to handle them. In fact, this is the most common type of flooring failure we see in industrial facilities. Companies have thin film coating systems installed into areas that really require an aggregate filled epoxy or urethane cement slurry or mortar. Sometimes these decisions are made due to lack of knowledge, while other times it is due to budget issues.
Heavy abrasion is another major factor that needs to be considered when selecting the proper flooring system. Will the floor be exposed to constant scraping with tools or equipment, or will it be covered with abrasive particles such as sand or other fine particles from the processes being performed in the space. Proper flooring selection and design will mean the difference between success and failure.
- Static Electricity
Certain facilities such as electronics manufacturing, aerospace, defense and data rooms have equipment and situations that are extremely sensitive to static electricity. This static is generated by simple day-to-day activities, such as employees walking around the workspace. Electro-static discharge-resistant (ESD) flooring is one of the key components in your facility’s ESD program. Resinous based ESD flooring systems offer several distinct advantages over conventional ESD flooring such as carpet and tile, including cleanliness, chemical resistance and stain resistance. They also have improved electrical performance in low relative humidity environments.
Do you experience any of these hazards? We’d love to chat with you about flooring options.