Cleaning & Restoration Association News

Exercising Care and Caution on the Job

September 16, 2002
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Every day, from the moment we pull out of our driveway on the way to the first appointment until we turn off the ignition at night, safety, care and caution come into play.

And not only our safety, but the safety of our clients, their families and their property. Let's look at some of the everyday concerns professional carpet cleaners should heed.

Many technicians who use CDS/PTO truck-mounted units leave their van engines running continuously. Sometimes it is necessary to back into a homeowner's driveway to provide hose access through the side or rear doors. In many cases the homeowner opens her garage door, as it may be the most convenient, and shortest, path to the areas being cleaned. Over the years, and primarily during the winter months, I've had several clients suggest we back the van inside the garage.

Keep your vehicle as far away from the garage door opening as you can! Carbon monoxide gases are much more effectively exhausted outside the structure. Additionally, use care not to have the van's exhaust aimed near flowerbeds or vegetable gardens. Several years ago, my van caused the death of a family of pachysandra, much to the homeowner's chagrin.

Take Pedestrians Into Account
Always keep one or two red warning cones on the truck. They come in handy when running hoses across common areas such as sidewalks, walkways, etc. Never assume pedestrians will see the hoses. By taking some basic preventive measures, you are not only protecting the bystander, you are protecting yourself from an attorney and potential lawsuit.

Our Daily Chemicals
We use a variety of hazardous chemicals in our industry, including VS solvents, rust removers and other agents. When applying these dangerous materials, always be sure to thoroughly neutralize and rinse the areas after spot removal. It is not in anyone's best interest to have Fido stick his nose in some residual hydrofluoric acid.

We always ask, in our customer prep sheets, that our clients have their pets contained in an area of the house not being cleaned. We often need to repeat that request on arrival, but we do so with a smile. Many a dog or cat has made its getaway through a partially open door, and chasing a poodle down five city blocks, frantic customer in tow, is not much fun, nor part of the job description.

In cases where the situation calls for it, we also need to be continuously aware of small children. Solution hoses get quite hot, and inevitably there will be a curious 4-year-old looking to grab them. I've also learned that different parents exercise different levels of diligence with their children. This awareness helps to greatly lower the "whoops" factor.

You can never stress potential slip-and-fall hazards enough. Inform your clients of the possibility of these hazards through pre-appointment literature and repeat it before and after the job. Finally, get their signature acknowledging their understanding of the hazard. Keep a supply of clean white towels on your truck to help make certain hard surfaces are dry before you leave. When packing up jobs, inventory all tools and chemicals. You do not need to leave any chemicals behind, especially with that 4-year-old sneaking around.

Remember, always use care, caution and never assume that anything is taken care of unless you make sure of it yourself.

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