A common problem in manufacturing and warehouse environments is the accumulation of dust. Dust may be easy to manage at ground level, however warehouse environments receive dust on walls, beams, light fittings, pipes and ducts which can be ten metres high.
Whilst it’s possible to reduce the level of dust created in your warehouse, it is difficult as it can originate from so many different sources. The majority of dust will occur as a bi-product of the primary products stored in the facility. As most warehouses store boxed items, dust will occur when boxes and pallets are dropped on hard surfaces.
Forklifts and other vehicles also contribute, from exhaust fume particles to the buildup of tyre marks. Dust will also be made up from various other factors such as dirt and pollen blowing in from outside, mould, bacteria, hair, skin, dead insects, dust mites, insulation and fibers.
Dust creates numerous problems for warehouse environments. It can fall from the ceiling into your products, which can render items such as food, clothing, fabric and printing unfit for resale.
Dust can also enter machinery, causing electrical components to cease operation, causing downtime in your business. Dust enters and becomes suspended in ventilation systems, causing poor efficiency and increased operating costs.
Employees are also impacted, when dust particles are inhaled and enter their lungs. This can trigger allergies and cause respiratory problems and lung diseases. Keeping on top of this will ensure consistent productivity through reducing sick leave, reduce your vulnerability to lawsuits, not to mention caring for your staff.
Combustible Dust Explosions are also an unfortunate risk in dusty areas. Such explosions occur when a high concentration of combustible dust (such as fibers, grain, paper, metals) is suspended in the air in a confined space1. If this becomes quickly ignited it will explode with enough force to injure or kill. Unfortunately these incidents do occur – in 2014 there were 146 fatalities from an aluminium dust explosion in a Taiwanese metal production factory2.
Dust is difficult to remove as it sticks to dirt and grime which have built up on walls, roof, beams and ducts, which can be ten metres high in a warehouse. Scaffolding or scissor lifts are necessary, as most ladders lack the height, stability and equipment carrying capabilities necessary.
A common mistake made by inexperienced contractors and uninformed employees is to use compressed air to blow the dust to the floor and then vacuum it. Shifting the dust from one place to another isn’t recommended as it can contaminate your stock, machines and other items. It also does nothing to remove the dirt and grime which enabled the dust to stick to the wall in the first place.
Recently Phil Hudson, our stain removal expert, performed a warehouse dust and grime removal from a large manufacturing warehouse in the western Melbourne suburb of Derrimut. The warehouse was being vacated at the end of lease and was required to be handed over in spotless condition. After many years of receiving very little cleaning, the walls and roof had gone from grey to brown, looking more like rust than dust!
Image: Before work commenced, the walls were so brown it resembled rust not dust!
Cleaning solutions were used to neutralise the grime, drawing years’ worth of stains out of the metal cladding for gentle, non-abrasive removal. The dust and grime was then vacummed away and the finishing touches were performed by hand.
A risk assessment was conducted prior to commencement, which resulted in scaffolding being used to work safely at height and respirators were worn to prevent inhalation of dust fibers. Care had to be taken while working on top of the mezzanine floor as this couldn’t receive exposure to water.
Image: After – the walls were completely restored back to their original grey colour
The Stain Eaters perform the removal of dust, grime, rust stains, mould, oil stains/spills, paint spills, tyre marks, graffiti and other common warehouse stains. We perform end of lease cleaning as well as scheduled cleaning on a maintenance agreement that’s customised to suits your requirements.