Fall can be a great time to be working outdoors. The weather is cooling and the air is crisp, but there is usually not yet snow or ice to complicate work. One hazard that is easy to overlook during the fall months, though, is leaves, and surprisingly leaves can be as slippery as ice on construction sites.
Ice is known to be slick, but did you ever wonder why? Ice almost always has a thin layer of water on the surface, even when the temperature is quite cold. It is this water on the surface of the ice that makes it so slippery. The thin layer of water essentially acts as a lubricant that reduces traction for tires or shoes.
Wet leaves on the ground also tend to be very slippery. The reason for this is similar to the reason that ice is such a sliding hazard. Since the surface of leaves do not absorb water, any water that collects on the leaves just sits on top, forming a layer of water just like with ice, leading to reduced traction. Unlike ice, however, fallen leaves may be multiple layers deep, with each layer of leaves coated with water, meaning that there can be multiple layers of sliding occurring when riding or walking over wet leaves. This combination can make it practically impossible to maintain traction when driving or operating equipment over wet leaves.
A solution to the problem of slippery leaves at a construction site is to use crane mats for heavy equipment. Crane mats or dragline mats can provide a stable platform that can be laid out as needed at your job site. Not only do these mats provide stability for your heavy equipment, but they are also easy to sweep or blow clean of debris like leaves or can be placed atop leaf falls to provide a more stable surface to work from. The use of mats can make it much safer to work with heavy equipment during the fall months, helping to minimize the seasonal sliding risk posed by leaves.
Ritter Forest Products is an industry leader in crane mat rentals. We maintain a large inventory of hardwood mats that are available for sale or rent, with convenient delivery options. Contact us today by calling 800-426-9570 to request a quote for our hardwood mats for your fall construction project.