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Keeping it clean to avoid slips

30 October 2017

Effective floor cleaning can help to create a safe environment for employees. It also promotes hygiene and food safety, protects valuable assets and enhances a building’s appearance, argues Deborah Bland. 

Floorcare is important across all areas of a food production plant, but there are likely to be two key priorities in food production areas – hygiene and safety. Hygiene is important because it helps to ensure food safety, eliminates potential sources of contamination, and remove debris that can attract vermin and harbour the bacteria.
Safety is also important. In 2015, around 7,600 people experienced slips, trips and same-level falls in the workplace resulting in serious injuries such as broken bones. Over 13,000 people had similar accidents that caused them to have at least seven days off work. While no accident at work should ever be taken lightly, food production areas present additional risks because the machinery, knives and other sharp objects that can be present could turn a simple slip or fall into something much more serious.
One of the biggest factors in such accidents is contamination. In food production areas, this can include raw ingredients, oils and fats, blood and other liquids. All busy areas should, therefore, be routinely cleaned during the working day. Spills and contamination should ideally be removed as soon as possible after they occur.
In the past it was routine to use a mop and bucket with a fairly limited choice of cleaning solutions. However, this equipment results in a messy, time-consuming and inefficient process that tends to simply spread contaminants over a wider area and leaves a thin film of liquid that will actually increase the overall risks.
More efficient cleaning
Progressive cleaning teams now opt for compact mains or battery-powered scrubber driers because they are more efficient and productive. Using a properly specified machine, in combination with the right pads or brushes and cleaning product, enables fast and effective cleaning that can leave the floor clean, dry and ready to use again right away. These machines can also help to maintain and even improve the appearance of the floor, protecting to protect valuable assets.
Specifying the right machine for the application and workload is important. Machines that are too large might be underutilised and may not deliver a return on investment. Machines that are too small can be overworked, unproductive and unreliable. It is also important to specify the right combination of pad, brush and cleaning product for the type of floor and soiling. The pad or brush will be chosen to deliver the right mechanical cleaning action without damaging the surface.
The choice of cleaning product can be even more complex due to the different types of potential soiling. General purpose formulation may be adequate for many areas but specialist products will be better if contamination is severe or corrosive materials are present. With meat, for example, an alkaline formulation is better suited to removing contamination such as juices, fats and greases. With milk and dairy products a more acidic formulation may be more appropriate.
While floor disinfection is not always the priority, where it is there are products with disinfection performance to various EN standards. For general application, those with ‘broad spectrum’ capability to eliminate a wide range of pathogens may be suitable.
With a bit of forethought and the right choices, floorcare can be a simple, effective and efficient process that improves the working environment for employees and ensures a more hygienic plant.

Deborah Bland is marketing leader at Diversey Care, UK & Ireland.

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