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Cleaning is caring

When operators think about maintenance they tend to focus on looking after machines, not themselves. But research shows that maintenance activities are a common source of accidents1. So, maintenance is not just about caring for your machines, it’s about caring for your workers.

Many companies think that education is enough to improve safety behaviors. If workers are just taught how to safely perform maintenance they will do it – right? But simply teaching workers about the importance of safety is not the best way to change behavior. Academic studies of safety culture have found that even if the workforce responds positively to safety education that has nearly no correlation to decreasing workplace accidents.

Why? People do what’s easiest, not safest. Even if workers are aware of safety procedures, they will quickly forget them in favor of easier and faster options - especially when under stress. So what is the best way to improve your health and safety behaviors in practice?

Tools and processes matter most

Actions speak louder than words. Research2 shows that providing practical support is more effective in reducing accidents than trying to motivate people through a change of mindset. It is about behaviors not attitudes. Without the right tools and processes in place on the production floor, accidents will keep happening, no matter how much safety training you provide.

Something that might seem like a small detail, such as better wiping and cleaning products, has a big impact on performance overall, especially in terms of worker safety and morale. Research2 suggests that organizations should concentrate 80% or more of their efforts to improve safety culture in areas such as maintenance and manager behavior. For maintenance, that means cleaning processes catering to your specific production facility, and easy-access dispensers, which contribute to neater shop floors.

“The most dangerous accidents with huge negative impact, from an economic as well as environmental perspective tend to be caused because cheap and simple maintenance and cleaning tasks that are neglected."
- Dr. Nima Khakzad, Delft University of Technology

A clean shop shows that you take safety seriously

A clean shop floor and good housekeeping also demonstrates that your organization cares about working conditions, which in turn reinforces good morale. This goes beyond the individual worker – when enough people do the right thing, others will follow suit. Once again, proper tools and simple processes enable a cleaner, more productive workplace overall.

"Many people do believe that poor housekeeping does not matter simply because they work in areas with poor housekeeping standards”
- Dr Dominic Cooper, Applied Behavioural Sciences Hull2

Management support is key

Managers need to encourage good behavior and provide the right tools. Management is under constant pressure to meet all types of demands, but it is crucial to continually support the workforce in practice. Research2 shows that having the right tools in place is the best way to achieve this. 

Tork products support your safety ambition
Today, the majority of industrial manufacturers in Europe use rags and rentals for maintenance and cleaning, often only out of tradition. Tork provides products and tools that out perform rags and rentals while encouraging safe maintenance practices on the production floor. If you want to improve safety behaviors, it is time to break with the tradition of rags and rentals. Here's why:

Less time pressure, less mistakes
When workers have more time to complete a task, they are better equipped to follow safety procedures.
Tork products make cleaning and maintenance in up to 35% less time. The consistently high quality of Tork products translates to 31% less effort spent.

Reduced clutter improves safety
Tork provides the right product for each task. Having Tork products organized in the right dispensers helps create better structure in the places it is needed most. This saves time and reduces risk of accidents.

Work healthier and safer with less solvent
Tork products require up to 41% less solvent used compared to traditional rags. This can have negative effects on the health of the operators who are exposed to those solvents. Tork products reduce the health and safety risks of storing solvent-soaked rags.

Increased safety boosts the quality of labor
Providing easy-to-use, versatile tools allow people to work smarter, faster and safer. A happier, more productive workforce increases your uptime, which directly translates to money saved. Using Tork cleaning cloths with exelCLEAN® is a practical way to demonstrate that cleaning is caring.

Want to get started? Contact your local Tork Sales representative to raise your health and safety efforts, by getting the right practical support for your workers in place.

1. National Health Scotland, “What is maintenance? Healthy safe workplaces”, 2012
2. Dominic Cooper, Improving Safety Culture- A Practical Guide, 2001