Maintaining a Clean Shop

Mon, Jul 13, 2015 at 12:15PM

Maintaining a Clean Shop

A clean shop is a safe shop. Slips, trips and falls can all be attributed to a dirty shop. The shop should be treated as its own safety environment. I will use this article to give ideas and guidelines that I have seen firsthand that have positive results. Positive results can also be defined in a number of ways. I would define positive results when my maintenance staff can work as a unit, work safe, work clean and work efficiently. When all of these tasks are met, success can be achieved. Your maintenance shop should be thought of as the heart of the operation. Without these mechanical surgeons, the trucks will not operate on the streets in a safe and orderly fashion.

Work as a Unit

Working as a unit is vital to success. From the maintenance coordinator setting the schedule, parts manager ordering the correct parts and the mechanics themselves, all must be on the same page and in tune with each other. If communication between the staff is high, everyone knows the priorities and what must get done for the operation side of the company to succeed the next day.

Working Safe and Clean

Working safe is number one priority. Working safe and working clean are tied together. Each mechanic should be responsible for his/her own bay and housekeeping. At each bay we have the following:

  • A mop and bucket on wheels • Garbage pails 
  • Clean rags dispensers and dirty rag bins with lids for disposal 
  • Hose reels (with coolant, hydraulic fluid, motor oil, washer fluid, airlines) coming from the ceiling overhead. This reduces tripping on hoses scattered across the floor. 
  • High-efficiency LED bright bay lights 
  • Parts washer 
  • Caution paint, warning signs keeping others out and safety chains notifying anyone other than maintenance staff to keep out 
  • Electric four-way truck jacks capable of lifting any truck off the ground for hard to reach areas

Staff is encouraged to clean up all spills when they occur. Proper eye wear, ear wear and skin protectants (gloves, pants and long sleeve shirts) should be encouraged to prevent injuries and unfortunate accidental deaths. Accidents and injuries occur when a shortcut is attempted or someone rushes. If you set policies and procedures that constantly grow with your staff as you experience obstacles, you will continue to promote and show the importance you place on safety as a company.

Work Efficiently

Having an educated maintenance coordinator who knows the realistic time required to complete a job is also very important. Throwing too much work on an employee can promote rushing and risk taking, which results in poor work and possible injuries. This goes back to constant communication. Some mechanics excel at tasks better than others would. I like to let everyone’s best qualities shine through, so feel free to give someone the opportunity to succeed and most importantly do not forget to show praise for hard work and dedication.
In closing, spend some time to overlook your current maintenance staff. Look into your policies and procedures. Are they organized and well thought out? Do you give scheduled work to your mechanics that is achievable in a day’s work? These are just a few questions I hope you ask and answer for yourselves after reading this article. | WA 

John Paglia, III is a 4th generation garbage man. Before he climbed the ranks to become Florida Express Environmental’s General Manager, he had a successful career in college and professional athletics. John has been around the garbage industry since his car seat days. Currently, John is focused on growing his company and offering the highest level of customer service and prolonging the world that we live in today. John wakes up every day knowing that the impact professional haulers have on their community is far greater than most realize. He can be reached at (352) 629-4349, e-mail John3@ or visit

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