Warehouse managers and maintenance supervisors spend a great deal of time and effort ensuring that forklifts work, conveyors operate properly and dock doors roll up and down smoothly. Why then do they not put the same effort into floor cleaning and maintenance?
Floors endure a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis but aren’t always maintained properly. From fuel spills to forklift tyre damage and other types of debris, the warehouse floor can turn into a safety hazard and/or eyesore quickly.
What should one consider when it comes to proper floor cleaning and hygiene protocols?
To begin, warehouse managers are encouraged to determine what they expect their floors to look like: • Is this a high-appearance location where customers come for regular visits? • Are you shipping and handling products that must be kept clean? • Are workers picking up pallets and racking to clean around them regularly, or is dust gathering in the corners? • Are forklifts leaking fluids all over the floor (with no one cleaning them up)?
Once these expectations have been laid out, the next step is to develop a programme that includes: 1) Regular sweeping to remove dry particulate from the floor and 2) Scrubbing.
Other best practices include picking up any pallet chips, cleaning up debris and blotting/removing any spills – anything that someone could slip and fall on should be removed immediately.
In most cases, polished concrete floors will require this two-step process.
4 Floor cleaning equipment considerations There is tremendous payback when it comes to having the right tool for the right application, which means finding the right scrubber, sweeper or other piece of machinery for the facility in question. Selecting the right floor cleaning equipment should include these four considerations:
Aim for high productivity over lowest price. In some cases, the most expensive piece of equipment may yield the best ROI because productivity will be high and you’ll save on labour costs.
Look for flexible equipment. From a cleaning power sense, facilities aren’t evenly dirty. There are places that are much dirtier than others and then places that are quick to clean. Here a machine that can adjust its cleaning power at the touch of a button, from a down-pressure, water flow and chemical strength perspective, is ideal.
Get a machine that can grab nuts, bolts and pallet chips. If your floor tends to become cluttered with large debris, look for a cylindrical-type scrubber that can capture those large pieces while scrubbing. That way the floor receives a deep scrub and sweep simultaneously.
Factor in operator safety and ease of use. Factor operator safety and ease of use into the equipment-buying process to make it easier to assign the cleaning job.
Taking a step back to think about floor maintenance just as one would any other potentially “high priority” supply chain or logistics process, should be part of the facility’s overall plan. Get back on track with our feature on floor cleaning, which offers more in-depth advice and key considerations.
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