Every June is National Safety Month making it the perfect time to revisit your safety practices and training with your team. There are a lot of different potential hazards that you can encounter when cleaning, whether it’s related to equipment use, detergent or chemical solutions or jobsite awareness. Let’s take a look at some of the key points to refresh with your crew to make sure you’re always working safely as part of your CLEAN operations.
One of the easy potential concerns to check is making sure that you’re using the right attachments for your machine. This can mean the correct nozzle or an appropriately sized wand or hose. Improper fittings can cause breakages or system failures, possibly leading to major problems with hot water or high-pressure water that can cause burns or high-pressure water injection injuries, which can be fatal. Use the right tools, attachments and accessories for the job every time.
Another common issue we see is employees who disable or bypass safety features built into their pressure washer. This can often be seen as a short-term solution to make work easier or faster, but the safety features are there for a reason. It might seem a tempting shortcut to disable a pressure relief valve or turn off built-in regulators or limiters, but doing so can lead to unintended consequences, ranging from premature equipment failures and breakdowns to serious explosions. Long story short – don’t disable safety features for any reason.
Detergents & Chemicals
Depending on the surface you’re cleaning, you may need to use some pretty intensive chemical solutions to get things clean. Sometimes these can be highly caustic and cause damage to any exposed skin or emit fumes that may be harmful to inhale. This safety warning is two-fold – first, it’s important to be mindful of the detergents that you use and any concerns about ventilation or contact exposure. Second, always be sure to wear appropriate clothing and safety equipment when handling some of these more intensive cleaning solutions to avoid any accidental contact.
Clean vs. Sanitized
If you work in food preparation, medical environments or other conditions where sanitization is vital to the job, you know the importance of using the right solutions to keep different areas free of bacteria, viruses and other health concerns. However, there are various standards of clean that apply in different settings, and your choice of detergent plays a big role in meeting that standard. Plus, don’t forget factors like dwell time can impact the level of cleanliness, while the quality of rinse can be important to remove any harsh residues or byproducts.
Indoors and Outdoors
One of the seemingly simple things to keep in mind is the environment where you’ll be cleaning. If your cleaning jobs are indoors or in an enclosed work bay, it’s important to not use a fuel-powered pressure washer without proper ventilation. Any non-electric washer will burn some type of fuel, emitting noxious fumes and/or carbon monoxide, which can quickly build and lead to a loss of consciousness or even death. To avoid any issues, make sure any gas-powered equipment has adequate ventilation or choose electric equipment when working indoors.
Be Mindful of Your Surroundings
Finally, it’s important that you pay attention to your equipment and materials, but also the cleaning environment itself. There are many small hazards on the job that can lead to accidents and injuries. Whether it’s something simple like tripping over an errant hose line or something potentially more serious like failing to see a coworker near where you are spraying, taking just a moment to take a look around can be the difference between a safe job and one that involves a sprained ankle – or something much worse.
Staying Safe All Year Long
Make safety an integral part of your culture and reinforce these lessons not just during National Safety Month, but all throughout the year. The National Safety Council offers a SafeAtWork Pledge that you can encourage your employees to sign online and print to show their commitment to working safely. The team at WET can also help. We offer training documents, videos, in-person sessions and more to help educate new employees or refresh your current workforce on the best practices and procedures to stay safe.
Working CLEAN is working efficiently, effectively and safely on every job every day. That’s why we offer our CLEAN Accountability Plan, that helps you put together a strategy to keep working CLEAN all year long. Let us help – give us a call today at 800-776-8310 to learn more.