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Colours, Cloths And Compromise


Detergent spills and strong solvents are just two of the factors that can compromise safety in an industrial cleaning regime. Stephen Belcher of SCA, discusses how colour- coded cloths and solvent-friendly non-wovens can help improve safety at work.


Cleaning tasks in the industrial sector can be particularly arduous, since hard-to-remove substances such as paint, tar, oil and grease may all need to be removed from components and surfaces – and of course, tough cleaning tasks will require tough products. But products such as these tend to carry their own health and safety risks; for instance, the traditional solvents still used widely in industrial environments have historically been linked to a number of safety issues including eye irritation, dermatitis and headaches.


The European Solvents Industry Group (ESIG) is dedicated to improving solvent safety, and for this reason, its members’ products are tested for their health, safety and environmental properties. But the ESIG does state that some solvents need to be managed carefully due to their volatility and general flammability, and it also mentions the risk of irritation to the skin, eyes and lungs if the solvents are accidentally swallowed. The risks potentially become higher in cases where solvents or other strong cleaning fluids are used in an open bucket; it is all too easy to tip a bucket over and any floor spill will quickly become a slipping hazard. Meanwhile, the solvent itself could cause breathing problems or skin conditions.


Chemical dosing systems that dispense cleaning fluids in measured quantities can greatly help to improve safety, but these


92 | WIPES, MOPS & MICROFIBRES


are impractical in situations where on-the-spot cleaning needs to be carried out – for example, where a spilt substance such as oil or paint needs to be removed immediately from a surface or component. Textile rags or laundered cloths used to be the traditional cleaning aid in such situations, but solvent-soaked cloths again represent a health hazard if these are left lying around the workplace where they could pollute the atmosphere. The fact that mixed rags come in a wide variety of materials also means that their absorbency capabilities differ greatly. When used with solvents, some rags will soak up the liquid, but then retain it within the cloth instead of releasing it back on to the wiping surface. So, a good wiping system should be safe but able to deal with spills quickly.


An easily-accessible, multipurpose wiper is a good idea in any industrial environment, since this will allow staff to quickly mop up any spills that may occur.


A non-woven wiping cloth such as Tork Industrial Heavy-Duty Cleaning Cloth, works well in any tough industrial cleaning situation. The thick, bulky product has been designed to absorb oil and remove grease, while also being sufficiently bulky to provide hand protection when cleaning sharp edges and ridges.


The Tork Heavy-Duty Cleaning Cloth is another good option, since the cloth will not break up when used with a solvent, and the fact that the product effectively absorbs the solvent before releasing it back onto the wiping surface, helps to reduce the amount of solvents used which helps to increase safety – while also reducing costs. This cloth also offers good oil and water absorption properties and is strong enough to be used for tough scrubbing tasks.


The use of impregnated wipes can also help to improve workplace safety, since this removes the need for using “neat” liquid chemicals. For example, Tork Surface Cleaning Wet Wipes are impregnated with a detergent that has been dermatologically tested to be gentle on the hands. The wipes are enclosed in a sealed container which removes the potential hazard of an open bucket of cleaning fluid, while protecting the wipes from drying out before use.


An easily-accessible, multipurpose wiper is a good idea in any industrial environment, since this will allow staff to quickly mop up any spills that may occur. Spills on floors could present a slipping hazard, compromising the safety of staff, and this is where the Tork Reflex Wiping Paper Plus works well – it can be used to quickly mop up spills even in food factories, as it is food-contact approved. In a food processing plant, it is important


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