Common Spills in Businesses

by Chris Martin on March 12, 2014

Savvy business owners do whatever they can to keep their offices and storefronts safe and clean. Even so, spills of some kind can and do occur from time to time. Whether it’s an employee who splashes her coffee, a customer who drops his sandwich, or a delivery person who breaks open a bag of supplies, the floors of the business will be tarnished by a spill sooner or later.  But what matters the most is not whether a spill occurs; rather, how business owners respond to them.

Here is a rundown of some of the most frequently-spilled substances in a workplace setting:

  1. Beverage. It could be anything from a colleague’s bottle of water or coffee to a customer spilling cola that was dispensed from the soda machine. Capped bottles and cups with lids help mitigate this risk, but they don’t eliminate it entirely.
  2. Food (foodservice). At an eatery, stray food falling from tables or walking customers is a daily occurrence. But even at other types of businesses, customers or employees sometimes drop their food while moving from one place to another.
  3. Food (retail product). This is most common at grocers or other shops that sells bulk, bagged, or boxed food. For instance, it only takes a light bump to puncture a bag of rice or knock a glass container of candy onto the floor.
  4. Non-food products. This tends to happen at building supply centers, health food stores, and any other retailer that sells products in pill, powder, or liquid form. Again, leaky bags, cracked containers, or careless customers are often the cause of these spills.
  5. Glass. Okay, people almost never “spill” broken glass. But glass and other breakable containers are frequently dropped and/or knocked off of high shelves onto hard floors, where they can shatter and create the same effect as a spill.
  6. Cleaning supplies. An employee or a member of a contract cleaning crew might occasionally spill floor wax, bathroom cleaners, or clay-based absorbent products when working with them or moving them from one area of the business to another.
  7. Oil. This tends to occur in repair shops, warehouse, or other industrial areas. Lubricants of all kinds are usually present as part of the work that takes place, and it’s easy for a can or bottle to get overturned.

Of course, strategically-placed floor mats can take care of some of the most regularly-occurring spills. That’s why you often see floor mats in front of drink dispensers, near eating areas, close to storage shelves, and in front of entryways. However, if a spill does happen, here are some suggestions on how to deal with it properly:

  • Address the problem immediately. The longer you allow spilled matter to remain on the floor, the likelier someone will slip and fall in it.
  • If the spill involves a customer, tend to his or her needs (stained clothes, scalded skin, etc.).
  • Block off the area around the spill with signs, furniture, or caution tape to prevent people from walking in it.
  • If possible, move furniture or displays out of the area so they don’t get soiled or wet from the spill.
  • Focus on soaking up as much of the liquid as you can, then use other rags or paper towels to dry wet areas off.
  • For solid matter spills, use a vacuum cleaner or broom to dispose of the material.
  • Make sure to allow the area enough time to dry before removing barriers.

If you need another floor mat (or several) to help protect your floors from spills, contact Ultimate Mats to see about getting a high-quality, attractive mat for your business. After all, you may not be able to stop spills entirely but you can stop them from causing additional problems if you take the correct measures.

Image credit #3: Ultimate Mats

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