How Industrial Cleaning Paves the Way for Workplace Health and Safety
November 15, 2022
The Coronavirus has shaped the way we view cleaning. One’s health and safety has become a huge priority for a good reason. To protect ourselves and others from workplace accidents due to mishandling chemicals or neglecting safety protocols, such as the improper use of personal protective equipment, we need to learn the ropes to better understand the importance of a clean workplace. If anything, cleaning should not be considered a one-size-fits-all and there are factors to consider before deciding the type of cleaning to go for.
Two types of cleaning fall under this category: industrial cleaning and commercial cleaning. According to the “Know The Difference Between Industrial Cleaning and Commercial” article written on the Life Cleaning website, industrial cleaning is the act of cleaning hazardous areas in industrial facilities such as factories or warehouses. Commercial cleaning, on the other hand, refers to cleaning that is done for spaces like buildings, offices, and restaurants.
The benefits of industrial cleaning
Industrial cleaning is often overlooked. However, maintaining storehouse and warehouse cleanliness is critical for customer satisfaction and business reputation. Cleanlink discusses industrial cleaning as the process of cleaning any type of industrial facility, including large storehouses, warehouses, factories, or even power plants. Employees are a valuable asset; by prioritizing safety, they can focus on the tasks at hand–therefore saving time and increasing productivity.
One of the most important benefits of regular industrial cleaning is that it helps promote a safer and healthier working environment. Safety and cleanliness go hand-in-hand with health in professional settings. Although people assume that dirt is common in environments like factories and warehouses, that is not always the case.
Industrial cleaning is more pertinent than people think. A spotless workplace results in fewer accidents, problems related to equipment, and less chances of employees and clients getting ill. Abiding by proper sanitation and hygiene practices prevents bacterial buildup, regardless of the environment and industry. When industrial settings aren’t properly cleaned or are left untouched, this allows dirt, dust, and grime to build up. These cause the accumulation of irritants that trigger asthma and allergies.
Another benefit is an increase in productivity. Healthy and safe workplaces come with satisfied and productive employees. When you hire professional industrial cleaners, you are able to use your and your employees’ time more efficiently. Moreover, professional cleaners know how to properly handle machines and hazardous materials, and are aware of the kinds of cleaning equipment needed to tackle any job. Not only does this contribute to productivity, it is also a time and money saver.
Safety is king in all industrial environments
Compared to commercial cleaning, industrial floor cleaning is not as concerned about aesthetics. Safety is more of a priority, since industrial floors are subject to stress. These include reactive chemical substances and physical force. For obvious reasons, regular cleaning and maintenance ensures that personnel are healthy and safe, and smooth workplace operations. Damage due to reactive chemical substances can cause the premature deterioration of floor surfaces and accidents, whether it’s acids damaging tools and machines or injuring personnel. By regularly cleaning your floors, you can prevent accidents from occuring in the first place.
When discussing industrial flooring, it is important to note that there are different types. These include but are not limited to polished and industrial concrete and vinyl flooring. Moreover, when cleaning these flooring types, keep in mind that chemicals used for one type of flooring may not work for another.
An excerpt of the “Professional Cleaning of Industrial Floors” piece by Karcher Professional mentions how there is a distinction between the one-step and two-step methods of floor cleaning. These methods are as follows: In the one-step cleaning method, the floor is scrubbed with the cleaning agent, then the dirt is cleaned off. This is done in one go using the same machine. In terms of the two-step cleaning method, the area is covered with water and a cleaning agent before the cleaning machine sucks the solution up.
Industrial flooring requires care and attention, whether that is in terms of cleaning or maintenance. Not only do they have to withstand strain, they also need to meet professional safety standards. Remember that what works for one kind of flooring may not work for another. The chosen method you go for will depend on the kind of flooring present.
Let’s discuss materials
According to Karcher Professional, most industrial floors are made of screed. It is known as a cementitious material that is made from a 1:3 or 1:4:5 ratio of cement to sharp sand, and may be applied onto a solid in-situ concrete ground floor slab or precast concrete floor unit. There are four types:
- Cement screed: Cement screed is the most commonly used type, consisting of sand or gravel and cement and water. Hard aggregate floor screed is the only type produced in the industrial sector, as it can withstand high traffic due to strength and thickness. In terms of properties, it isn’t resistant to acids or strong alkalis. Exposure contributes to rougher concrete that’s harder to clean.
- Calcium sulfate screed: This includes screens that consist of waterless calcium sulfate, which has a hard, smooth and compact, and poreless surface. In terms of properties, it’s sensitive to moisture due to its binder. It’s best to avoid long periods of water exposure and make sure to use the one-step method.
- Magnesium screed: Consisting of the binder components magnesium oxide and magnesium chloride, it’s hard-wearing and can firmly bind the material. In terms of properties, it’s impregnated on the day it’s made. The kind that contains a high organic filler content contributes to a floor warmer under foot that’s sensitive to moisture. When cleaning, go for the one-step method.
- Mastic asphalt screed: It’s a dense and poreless mixture of fillers like rock meal, sand, grit or gravel and bitumen (a dark-colored, semi-volatile substance made of substances extracted from crude oil). In terms of properties, it’s dust-free, water-resistant and resistant to acids and alkalis.
Surface treatment depends on what you require of the coating and load. When treating surfaces, you prevent dust from forming in cement-based screeds and dirt from penetrating quickly. Make sure to take the following properties into account during the cleaning process:
- Impregnation (Vapor permeable): This occurs when the agent penetrates 0.5-3mm into the screed, strengthening while filling the pores. In terms of properties, impregnating the pores prevents immediate moisture penetration. Don’t let substances like oil sit on the surfaces for too long, as this leaves unremovable marks.
- Chemical compaction: The fluid reacts with cement-bonded substrates. In terms of properties, how frequently wet cleaning is carried out triggers a more intense compaction reaction. This contributes to a strengthened surface and develops its resistance to chemical and mechanical stress.
- Sealing (Vapor permeable): A layer of material is applied to the substrate, which is known as the base material that processes are conducted on. The material is 0.1-0.3 mm, similar in thinness to a coat of paint.
- Coatings: Coatings vary and are 0.5-2mm thick, and textured or smooth depending on the coating. This kind is important because some offices require slip-resistant ones. In terms of properties, it offers high chemical resistance despite being sensitive to solvents and mechanical cleaning products.
As mentioned, cleaning isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. There are several factors to consider when keeping your workplace safe and employees and clients healthy. By taking the different types of hazards and environments into account when factoring such decisions, tackling industrial cleaning jobs will prove to be easier and more efficient.
- Karcher Professional. (n.d.). Professional cleaning of industrial floors. Industrial floor cleaning | Kärcher International. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://www.kaercher.com/int/inside-kaercher/know-how-for-professionals/industrial-floors.html
- Life Line Cleaning. (2022, May 7). Know the difference between industrial cleaning and commercial cleaning: Lifeline Cleaning. Lifeline Cleaning |. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://www.lifelinecleaning.com.sg/know-the-difference-between-industrial-cleaning-and-commercial-cleaning/
- Gislason, E. (2018, December 26). Types of hazards. National Association of Safety Professionals. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://naspweb.com/blog/types-of-hazards/
- Hall-Stoodley L.J., Costerton W., Stoodley P. Bacterial biofilms: From the natural environment to infectious diseases. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 2004;2:95–108. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro821.
- The Concrete Centre. (n.d.). Floor screeds. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://www.concretecentre.com/Building-Solutions/Floors/Floor-Screeds.aspx