A clean back of house is essential for retailers
Everyday tons of perishable goods are delivered to supermarket loading docks across the country.
According to Emma Corder, Managing Director of commercial cleaning company Industroclean, “Docking zones are the first landing point for perishable goods, from raw meat and fish to dairy products. So naturally employee training, logistics, adhering to operating procedures and standard health and safety regulations as well as good housekeeping will help to minimise hazards, injuries and product loss."
She also adds, “It may seem like a costly exercise but having a maintenance team, daily schedule and the correct cleaning products specifically for these areas, will save retailers in the long run.”
These savings come in different forms, from keeping your employees safe to improved efficiency of unloading or loading that could lead to financial loss due to loss of product as a result of spoilage.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act’s Environmental Regulations for workplaces states that employers are required to keep workplaces clean, orderly and free of anything that will obstruct employees from performing their work. This can be achieved by clearly marking floors to identify where walking is off limits, displaying visual dock communication and cleaning the area regularly.
Due to multiple deliveries in loading areas on a daily basis, these areas are exposed to pathogens, which can be spread throughout the supermarket if not stopped at the entry point. These back of house areas are constantly busy and not usually visible to the public eye
Best practice for keeping these areas clean and safe and to prevent the loss of stock is to clean with the correct products and equipment and ensuring regular cleaning and maintenance of these spaces.
Water, or products containing oil or other liquids on floors pose a risk of slips and falls. Liquid spills might include substances that may be flammable or toxic. Even the smallest spill of flammable or toxic sale products can also cause respiratory nuisance.
In the event of any spill, cleaners need to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gloves, aprons and masks. Spills can be cleaned manually with the appropriate equipment.
This includes removing the initial spillage with paper towel or a tool such as a “baggy” whereby the spillage is disposed of directly into a refuse bag. Depending on the spillage type, the area may need to be disinfected once it has been cleaned sufficiently.
Keeping floors clean, dry and in a good condition includes several easy steps:
• Keep containers, packaging, tools, and other materials out of pedestrian walkways and driving areas.
• Clean up and properly dispose of waste in the correct disposal areas.
• Have appropriate, closed containers for oily rags or other combustible waste.
• Clean up all spills immediately.
• Report any cracked or broken concrete or other flooring that may cause injury.
Corder says that equipment, machinery and chemicals must also be categorised, so that they are not used in other areas.
“Just as you would ensure that your surfaces are clean, ensure that your equipment and machinery are kept in good working condition. Making sure that your tools are cleaned after use plays a huge role in the prevention of harmful micro-organisms being transferred from one area to another.”
To effectively deal with spillages, Corder recommends using a wet and dry vacuum cleaner, but not for putting a toxic substance as all the components may then become contaminated. as in many instances these are able to handle certain toxic materials.
Scrubbing machines can deal with larger areas quicker and more efficiently. It is also crucial to invest in suitable brushware and chemicals that can dissolve oils, grease and stubborn dirt.