15 Apr 2013
When it comes to the cleanliness and safety of floor space in industrial production facilities and warehouses, operators could learn a lot from their local fast food restaurant.
In most corner hamburger joints, if there is a spill of any kind, workers are trained to clean it up immediately and make sure the surface is completely clear and dry before allowing anyone to walk on it. Why? Because a single slip and fall accident could result in the injury of a guest or employee, which could end up costing the business owner time and money.
Essential Employee Training
Training your employees to be aware of the importance of cleaning up spills and keeping floor space safe and free of debris may be basic, but it’s also critical to the success of your business. Companies spend millions of dollars per year defending themselves against lawsuits filed by people who were injured on the job, usually in accidents that could have been easily prevented.
All work areas should have a designated mop closet or slop sink station. Each of these should be outfitted with a clean, long-handled mop, a mop buck with working mechanical ringer, and running hot and cold water. Slop sinks typically are surrounded by a water-resistant lip of at least six inches to prevent spillage from leaking out onto the surrounding floor. They also need to have floor drains that are free of debris that can clog it and cause overflows.
Chemical cleaning solutions appropriate to the work area also need to be stocked. These should be kept in their original containers to avoid confusion about what’s in them. MSDS sheets for each chemical need to be updated and kept in the MSDS folder. Mandatory equipment also includes wet floor signs or pylons to notify people when a spill has occurred.
Procedures for Cleaning a Spill
Each company should develop its own procedure for dealing with a spill and train its employees on how to follow it. When an employee notices a spill, he or she should immediately notify a supervisor, then stay at the location where the spill occurred to warn other people until somebody can arrive to clean it. The substance that has spilled should be identified in case it is caustic, flammable or otherwise poses a potential danger. If so, special containment equipment may be required.
If it is safe to proceed, the spill should be mopped up with a clean mop that has been submerged in a mop bucket filled with clean, hot water and a chemical cleaner that is not going to react with the spilled substance. After the spill has been completely removed and the area cleaned, Wet Floor signs should be posted on all sides of the spill and left standing until the area has completely dried. Whenever possible, high-powered floor fans should be directed at the spill area to accelerate evaporation of the cleaning liquid.
Training your employees to be aware of potentially dangerous spills can not only make your workplace safer, but can save you money in the long run.