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Thursday's Ask the Experts: Contract Cleaning

June 17, 2010
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Thursday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) "Ask the Experts" page: Presently, our company is maintaining the floors in a grocery store - dustmop, auto-scrub, buff with a high speed propane at night beginning at 11:00 P.M. until about 4:00 A.M.. Store management wants us to change the time to 5:00 A.M. until 7:00 A.M. Store employees would sweep the floor and we would be responsible for auto-scrubbing and buffing. My question is, are there OSHA restrictions for operating propane equipment while store employees are in the area trying to stock product on shelves? There is obviously a safety factor operating equipment where workers are present, but are there any legal or regulatory restrictions?
The answer:
My research turned up OSHA concerns about propane combustion emissions (carbon monoxide) and noise, both of which are addressed by the manufacturers of the burnishers. Some machines use emission monitoring devices to shut down the engine if the gases reach too high a level. Some burnishers are equipped with vacuum systems that keep dust from the operation out of the air. Quieter mufflers are in place to keep the decibels below that recommended by OSHA.
I doubt OSHA would deal with something so obvious...
Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor
lekrafft@juno.com
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