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Industrial / Warehouse Cleaning

How to Clean Hazardous Materials in a Warehouse

Warehouses and industrial spaces hold large amounts of products that are in constant movement. If hazardous materials are stored in the workspace, it is vital to have a cleaning protocol that ensures the safety of employees, compliance with regulations and prevention of environmental contamination. These protocols will vary based on which materials are stored, size of the facility and governing laws. 

In this post, we will cover best practices for cleaning hazardous materials in your warehouse and what to include in your cleaning response plan that identifies roles of staff, required protective equipment and instructions on how to contain and clean the spill.  

Identify Hazardous Materials 

Before preparing a cleaning procedure, you must be able to identify the hazardous materials present in your warehouse. This includes chemical and flammable substances and any others that threaten human and environmental health. 

Collect Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for all materials in your warehouse. These sheets will include critical information such as first aid measures, instructions on how to handle and store materials, and firefighting measures. Keep these sheets in a folder that all staff can easily access in case of emergencies. 

Stock Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 

Once you have identified all hazardous materials and reviewed corresponding SDS, make sure you have stocked the appropriate PPE for you and your staff. This includes gloves, goggles, respiratory protection, and coveralls. Periodically check your PPE to ensure you have enough stocked and that it is in good condition. 

Prepare for Containment, Isolation and Ventilation 

When a hazardous material spills, it is critical to contain it as soon as possible. You can use barriers, absorbent materials, or dikes for the spilled area. Leave spill kits around the warehouse so your staff has easy access to them. 

Proper ventilation is required to disperse fumes when cleaning a spill. In addition to natural ventilation, you may need exhaust fans. Your staff must have access to clean air to prevent inhalation exposure. 

Proper Disposal and Decontamination 

To ensure the safety of your staff and property, you must follow strict guidelines to dispose of hazardous waste. It must be properly stored, transported, and disposed of by a licensed and authorized waste disposal service.  

Once the area is cleaned, it must be decontaminated. This may include washing the infected area and a second verification of cleanliness. Decontamination is crucial to avoid secondary exposure. 

Reporting and Documentation 

After the hazardous spill has been removed and cleaned, document the incident thoroughly. Keep records of the spill response, cleaning procedures, disposal manifests, and medical treatments of affected staff. This information is essential for regulatory compliance and for improving your internal processes. 

Create Emergency Response Plan  

Include all of the above steps in an easy-to-follow emergency response plan to clean hazardous materials in your warehouse.  

Outline and assign roles and responsibilities for your staff so everyone is aware of the procedure and next steps. Set periodic reviews throughout the year with all warehouse staff that includes emergency procedures, evacuation routes and the proper use of PPE. 

Cleaning hazardous materials in a warehouse is a complex task that requires careful planning, proper equipment, and a commitment to safety. By following these steps and making them a part of your emergency response plan, you can effectively manage and mitigate the risks associated with hazardous materials, ensuring a safe and healthier working environment for all. 

ServiceMaster Clean professionals are experienced in cleaning warehouses and industrial spaces. When faced with a hazardous material spill, we know the proper protocol to protect staff and your facility. Find your location for a free quote. 

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