Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What you should know about the potential exposures from rug beaters to employees and customers!

True story…a car wash customer elects an option to clean her carpets after she gets her car washed. This particular location offers a self serve carpet cleaner adjacent to the vacuum area. She follows the directions as best as she can. Having never done this before, she gets nervous as she places the rug into the machine and it grabs it more violently than expected. Thinking that it will damage the item, she tries to pull it back out. It drags her to a point where she bends down and at the same time her pony tail flips over. She is inches away from the hair being pulled in with the rug. Fortunately, she pulls away in time but is understandably shaken from the experience. so, even though a potentially major injury has been adverted, her memory of this experience will be what she remembers of this wash.

Over the years, I have done hundreds of carwash surveys. Those locations that use rug beaters as a service rarely have adequate signage warning employees or customers of some of the conditions that could lead to injury. A few ideas are: use caution when:

1. You are wearing loose clothing
2. You are wearing loose jewelry
3. You are wearing ties or scarves
4. If you have not read the operating instructions

Some of these machines have some safety instructions in tiny print on the front. I recommend that a separate sign with large printed lettering be placed above along with the directions on how to use the device.

Remember  it is best to use experienced employees when repairing these machines; the interior parts are often very sharp and with little space to maneuver in, which could cause severe cuts.

If you are looking to add a rug beater to your operations, there are some models that are side fed and would be safer, especially for customers using a self service machine.

What are you doing at your wash to prevent injuries from this equipment?