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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Cleaning To Reduce Hospitality Hazards

Written by Anne Vazquez. Posted in Exteriors, FacilityBlog, Featured Post, Safety, Web Exclusives

Tagged: , , , ,

Published on July 18, 2013 with No Comments

This Web Exclusive article has been provided by Victor Hayes Popovics, CEO of Ultimate Washer, Inc., a Jupiter, FL-based provider of commercial and industrial heavy duty pressure washer equipment.

In the hospitality and recreation industries, keeping high traffic common areas neat, clean, and safe is paramount. This includes driveways, parking lots, entrances, lobbies, hallways, sidewalks, and recreation facilities like pools, tennis courts, and golf courses… not to mention related equipment and supplies. Then there is the building itself.  All told, such maintenance can be far easier said than done.web exclusive

Beyond the sheer size and scale of this endeavor, keeping floor spaces clean and safe is even more challenging amid the myriad of construction and design materials—quartz, granite, marble, slate, terrazzo, travertine, coral rock, brick, wood, carpet and rugs, just to name a few. Walkways and decks aside, some structural areas and features on a building are also more challenging to clean than others—particularly on the exterior where the elements, insects, animals, and even mold can wreak havoc.

If a location has subtle stains or degradation on the ground surfaces, or on the structure’s interior or exterior walls or rooftops, it will be noticed by the guest if even subconsciously. Then there are the overarching safety and liability concerns for guests and staff alike should the lack of maintenance facilitate environmental deterioration of building materials that impact walkways, decks, stairs, and the like.

Even more detrimental, the financial impact of a slip and fall accident can range from minor inconvenience to massive liability, depending on the circumstances. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slips and falls are the number one cause of injuries in hotels, restaurants, and public facilities; 70% of these incidents occur on flat/level surfaces; and injuries resulting from floors, walkways, and ground surfaces were responsible for 18% of all days away from work. The National Floor Safety Institute estimates that the average cost of a slip and fall workers compensation claim is $4,000, and the average liability award for injury to a customer or other third party runs from $60,000 to $100,000 per claim.  Employers also suffer a loss of productivity when employees are injured and off the clock.

Power Washing One Approach
With this in mind, facility managers can procure their own professional pressure washing equipment, considering key ways a professional power washer can ease maintenance in a hospitality or recreation setting.power washing

Aesthetics: You only get one chance to make a first impression, and nothing degrades a visitor’s opinion of a location quicker than soiled, unkempt spaces.
Safety: Slips and falls on algae covered sidewalks happen all too often, and the liabilities can be significant. Sidewalks or common areas that don’t receive much sunlight are prone to moss, and the slippery surfaces are potential hazards
Structural integrity:  Over time, lichen, moss, algae, and other natural elements can degrade even the hardest of surfaces, so keeping them clear and clean can maintain their longevity
Property value: Cobwebs, dirt, leaves, and pollen, not to mention wood rot and rust around gutters and grimy tile, can make a property look old, worn, dingy and appraise for less than it’s actually worth.

Even beyond keeping ground surface areas, walls, and rooftops in tip top shape, there are other ways facility managers can use a power washer to maintain their facilities.

Unclog drains: A special “sewer jetter” nozzle attachment will safely and efficiently unclog and clean a drain.
De-grime grout and tile: A power washer with a rotary brush attachment can be very effective for safely cleaning floor tile and grout without damage. Use hot water to clean areas where grease and oil stains need to be cleared out, such as a food space or where cars are commonly parked.
Clean windows: Nothing diminishes a facility more than drab, dirty windows. Window squeegee attachments make the cleaning effort quick and easy. These can be used with soap and water, or glass cleaner; either way, windows can be cleaned quickly.
Clean central air ducts: A pressure washer outfitted with a special attachment can get the job done.
Kitchen exhaust duct and food safety: Flammable contaminants, including oil, grease and dust, find their way into these exhaust ducts. Even a small spark, flame, or just heat buildup could be enough to start a fire. Clogged ducts can affect temperatures of the cooking surfaces, making them irregular and causing some foods to be undercooked. Heat could also build up in the kitchen, bringing chilled food ingredients up to dangerous temperatures where they could be susceptible to mold, fungus, and bacteria.
Clear gutters: Keeping gutters unclogged and functional is imperative to prevent water overflow that can cause them to detach and, worse, promote rot and rust to the surrounding structure. A standard garden hose just won’t get the job done. A pressure washer with a special gutter nozzle will aptly clear the dirt, leaves and debris in short order… and a ladder need not apply!
Recreation equipment maintenance: Golf course and tennis court equipment represent a cleaning challenge that power washers readily solve. There is a veritable cornucopia of detritus attributable to the inordinate amount of foot traffic of these spaces, including grease, oil, grime, dust, dirt, mud, and the random items left by stray dog, birds, and critters.
Remove water and muck: Particularly useful in regions where rain and snow create a buildup of water and muck, or when pooled water needs to be drained indoors perhaps from an overfilled planter, flood, or plumbing repair, a special “muck scupper” attachment provides for high volume water removal. This rapid response is key to thwart what can be costly moisture related damage.
Quick dry: An air blower attachment on a pressure washer will quickly dry surfaces that have been cleaned.

The author and/or publisher of this information is in no way responsible for any damage caused to you, your pressure washer, anyone else, your property, or anyone else’s property by trying to implement or by successfully implementing the above-mentioned performance and services.

About Anne Vazquez

Anne Vazquez

Vazquez has been writing about facility management since 1996 when she began working at Today's Facility Manager (TFM) as the magazine's Editorial Assistant. From 2000 to 2005, she continued to work in publishing in another subject field until rejoining TFM's editorial team as Managing Editor in February 2005. In September 2012, she was promoted to Editor of TFM, where she continues to seek out solutions and trends for the magazine's facility management audience. Vazquez can be reached at avazquez@groupc.com.

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