For over 40 years, Dover Hydraulics has been repairing hydraulic cylinders and pumps for a wide range of industries. Their original building houses the cylinder repair shop, a place with unavoidable residual oil. The stairs leading to the breakroom were worn smooth due to heavy foot traffic over the years, which presented a serious hazard.
Nearby Wooster Products offered a proven solution with their cut-to-fit, non-slip stair treads.
Dover Hydraulics, like many industrial companies that deal with slippery fluids, must be proactive when it comes to accident prevention. With four buildings and 87 employees, safety is a top priority. A safety committee gets together regularly to discuss safety concerns.
A Slippery Problem
Recently, one of the safety committee’s concerns was the breakroom stairs. After decades of use, they needed some serious attention. Fabricated and installed at the time of construction, there are 14 stairs with diamond plate steel treads. They lead up to the break and locker room, a popular area with a lot of foot traffic. This posed a safety hazard because many areas were worn completely smooth. While smooth steel is a problem, adding some residual oil to the equation makes it infinitely more slippery and hazardous.
Scott Tritt, EHS Director for Dover explains, “We bring in cylinders, pumps, and other types of equipment from a variety of customers. Anything that has hydraulic cylinders on it comes to us [to be] repaired. These items come in … and often, they’re full of oil.”
The diagnostic and repair process begins with draining the oil. Despite a collection system and regular cleaning, some of the oil inevitably gets tracked around and can end up anywhere. This is an undesirable but common issue in many industries. It’s problematic due to the potential for slip-fall accidents, especially on slick surfaces like worn-out diamond plate stairs.
Accidents cost the industry millions of dollars every year from insurance costs, worker compensation claims, and loss of productivity. Slip and fall accidents are more common than you’d think: there were almost a half million accidents in the workplace due to slips, trips, and falls in 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Many of these accidents are entirely preventable, and safety measures and technologies are a key part of any improvement plan. Fortunately, a reliable product was available to correct the issue at Dover Hydraulics.
Searching for a solution, Tritt saw Wooster's stair treads in a safety journal, which caught his attention. Known for being a pioneer in anti-slip safety products, the company has a history of quality going back over a hundred years. Its Stairmaster product was perfect for Dover’s exact need: repair and retrofit for when treads can be slick. Tritt had no difficulty getting in touch with a representative for more information and requested some samples.
Stairmaster is designed to modernize and restore all types of stairs, while also providing excellent slip protection. It’s made with a base of heat-treated, corrosion-resistant, extruded aluminum substrate and given a mill finish. In addition, it has a beveled edge, countersunk holes, and is supplied with concrete screws to serve as anchors. The aluminum base is filled with a nearly diamond-hard aluminum oxide filler that provides sure footing. With a high coefficient of friction, even when wet, Stairmaster provides an anti-slip surface that is impervious to the effects of hydraulic fluid, as well as salt, calcium chloride, and other materials that can be detrimental to existing treads. The product is 2015 IFC code compliant and guaranteed to last five years, but typically lasts much longer.
The safety committee handled the samples, liked what they saw, and then placed an order. They confidently ordered the right size after Wooster supported the measuring process and even made suggestions for cost savings. Tritt also praised the ease of the ordering process and Wooster's proactive customer service. “They were in production and done quicker than we anticipated. There was no long lead time,” he says.
The Installation Process
The whole job was completed in less than two hours by the company’s subcontractor, and the new cut-to-size treads fit perfectly. To install, the carpenter used a flat head, self-tapping screws. The existing treads had nothing bent, broken, or protruded, so the new ones went right down on top.
The carpenter ran six self-tappers into each steel tread, which was already counter-sunk. The staff is thrilled with the outcome, finding their new stairs “solid as a rock.” They also love the yellow nose tread piece, saying the color contrast makes it much easier to traverse since the leading edge is so much more visible than the previous ones.
The speedy arrival and installation of Wooster's stair treads at Dover Hydraulics was a game-changer. It was simple, quick, and transformed the hazardous stairs into a safe pathway. The new treads, perfectly fitted and securely attached, significantly reduced the slipping hazard.
The safety committee at Dover, which played a key role in identifying the stair concern, was impressed with the samples, ease of ordering, customer service, and the final product.
“Since we have installed them, we have had good feedback from all our guys that work over there that go up and down them,” Tritt shared.
The original building now has safe stairs that will serve it well for another 40 years. Given the success of their stair tread installation, Dover Hydraulics plans to deploy more Wooster Products safety improvements soon.
Wooster Products is a leader in anti-slip stair treads and walkway products. They have been manufacturing anti-slip products for new construction, renovation, marine, and OEM applications since 1921 from its Wooster, OH facility. Long respected for quality and innovation, its products include cast aluminum (Alumogrit) cast iron (Ferrogrit), extruded aluminum (Spectra, Supergrit, Stairmaster, and Flexmaster), pressure-sensitive adhesive tape/deck covering (Flex-Tred), and coatings (WP-70, Walk-A-Sured, and Safe-Stride), as well as photoluminescent (glow-in-the-dark) nosings and treads (NITEGLOW). For additional information visit www.WoosterProducts.com, e-mail [email protected], call (800) 321- 4936, or write Wooster Products, 1000 Spruce Street, PO Box 6005, Wooster, OH, 44691.