Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Value of Knowledge - 'Priceless'

It occurred to me after completing the five day Management Course offered by the CarWash College, that my next blog topic should address the value of learning. Whether it takes place at a course like this, a trade show, educational seminar, association meetings or networking functions, there is no substitute for sharing experiences with other industry professionals. In my case it helped me understand new ways to improve safety at your locations for both your customers and employees.

While at the class I was introduced to some bug removal systems and floor applicators. These inexpensive automated options are used in the Southern States to remove bugs. I realized it could also be used as a solution to a problem I observed recently while doing an onsite safety inspection at an exterior car wash. It was in the Northeast, so the entrance to the tunnel was cold, wet and icy. This wash preps the vehicles prior to going through the tunnel. Normally there would be two employees on either side of the vehicle prepping but, since volume was down, there was only one. This created a hazardous condition where the employee had to navigate back and forth in front of the vehicle over the conveyor. In these conditions an employee is at risk of slipping under or being run over by the vehicle. Using one of these automated prepping systems could mitigate the chances of an employee being seriously injured.

I can't remember a time when I have come away from any learning opportunity without out one really good idea or new perspective. As car washes across the country wrestle with the downturn in the economy, crazy weather patterns and what many operators consider an overly saturated market, it's unimaginable anyone can afford to miss the opportunity to gain knowledge. Because if you are not willing to, I am certain your competitor will be.

YouTube video of employee slipping on conveyor >>>

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Does the Glove Fit?

I reached out to Al West, North East Sales Manager at Simoniz USA, Inc. ( for additional PPE information.

Al writes - Thanks for asking me to research the answer to your blog readers question ‘Are there differences between one type of glove and another in terms of safety when handling chemicals?’.

I spoke with our lab tech's and our plant/safety manager. They told me, unfortunately there are thousands of types of material for chemical protection in gloves, there are specific materials designed to handle alkaline and different materials designed for acids. There is also material that handles both - these would be considered the highest quality glove.

They said the most important factor in protection is the "Rate of Permeation". Typical gloves that we buy at CVS or Home Depot etc. can be as low as an hour or two. This presents the biggest risk in safety as people could be using gloves that may be keeping their hands clean yet not truly giving any protection.

The gloves we use have a rate of permeation at around Two Weeks, that's big. We buy "Ansell" gloves model "Sol-Knit Nitrile Glove". We buy these from Graingers. Hey every Car Wash guy knows Graingers ( they are a great source for so many things.

Ansell also has excellent disposable gloves that would give excellent protection to our industry - models "Touch N Tuff" and "Micro Touch EP". You can check out their website

Thanks Al I appreciate your team’s expert advice.