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In many operations, cleaning and maintaining the floor of a warehouse or manufacturing facility is low on the priority list. Yet keeping your facility clean at all times is essential to maintaining the highest levels of productivity — and, as a result, productivity — as possible at all times.
There are two essential benefits to following a recommended cleaning and maintenance program for your floor. The first is that it will improve the appearance of your facility. This is not only important for impressing visitors and satisfying health and safety inspectors, but it also can help keep your workers motivated and satisfied in their job.
The second essential benefit is that it reduced wear and abrasion, which ultimately extends the service life of your floor. Replacing flooring is not cheap, especially if your facility is large. But it also will take all or part of your production out of operation, which few companies can afford to do.
Four Stage Cycle
There are four stages in the floor care maintenance life cycle.
The first is the initial maintenance. These are the procedures that should be followed immediately after the new floor is installed — either in a new facility or in the event of floor replacement. Some manufacturers have specialized recommendations, including the use of polyurethane, sealants, paints or other applications to help protect your floor during its usable life.
The second stage is the daily/regular procedures that are conducted according to a regular schedule. These include sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dust removal and other procedures that will keep your floor neat and tidy at all times.
Forklift Sweeper Attachments
If your facility is large, you can consider using a sweeper attachment for your forklift to make maintaining your floor on a daily basis more efficient. Sweeper attachments fit onto the front of the vehicle’s forks and have brushes that clean the floor as the forklift is driven over the floor surface.
The third stage in the floor maintenance cycle is periodic maintenance. This includes more aggressive cleaning procedures than simply sweeping and mopping. Weekly or bi-weekly machine scrubbing would be one example. Others include buffing, spray buffing, burnishing or a combination of these procedures.
Forklift sweeper attachments can also be incorporated into this stage.
The fourth and final stage in floor maintenance is restorative. This is the most aggressive of all the stages and involves stripping and finishing the floor so that it has a completely new, unblemished surface. Given the time and cost of this stage, it typically is performed infrequently, or as needed. Regular inspections of your facility’s flooring will help determine when routine/periodic maintenance is no longer providing the desired level of appearance.
Safety Is Job One
When using forklift attachments such as sweepers for floor maintenance — or even simple buffing or mopping equipment — it’s important that you keep traffic in the area at a minimum. Not only will this help prevent dirt and debris from being tracked onto your newly cleaned floor, but it also will give the area time to dry.
While maintaining your floor is often a low priority, it can have very real and practical advantages to the operation of your facility.