Why Factory Cleaning Is So Important

From the dawn of the industrial revolution, to two world wars that tested our country’s resolve, factories and mass-manufacturing have been central to our country’s growth and development. Today, they remain a key part of the economy, accounting for 9.3% of the UK’s total economic output, contributing over £224 billion, and employing approximately 2.6 million staff. The sector is also one of the world’s strongest, coming in as the 8th highest value manufacturer across the globe.

With so many factories and industrial facilities working round-the-clock, it’s only natural that dirt and grime will quickly accumulate. Whether it be food preparation areas that deal with raw ingredients and easily collect bacteria, or heavy machinery that displaces dust and debris when in operation – there are a range of factors that can impact the cleanliness of your facility. Detailed, thorough, and careful cleaning will be necessary to ensure the continued safe and efficient running of your factory.

In our latest article, we’ll discuss why factory cleaning is so important, and what measures can be put in place to improve your cleaning procedures. Finally, we’ll outline how Vanguard’s industry-leading approach can elevate your factory’s hygiene to new heights.


Why Is Factory Cleaning Important?

Exceptional standards of cleaning can provide a range of benefits to your factory or manufacturing premises.

1. Productivity

Naturally, factories are at their best when operating at maximum efficiency. A fully optimised production line will act as a well-oiled machine, with each department knowing exactly what to do exactly when it is needed. It is this innovation that has led to consistent improvement of the UK’s productivity, with 2023 seeing a 8.6% increase from the previous year, and further increases expected over the foreseeable future.

However, dirt and debris can act as an obstacle to an efficient production line. Dirty areas will reduce the speed of your staff, forcing them to take greater care when moving across the factory floor, or put substantial effort into keeping debris out of the product or packaging. In addition, most tools or equipment will gradually become less effective the dirtier they get – whether its dust that collects in the hinges of machinery or a layer of grime coating the blade of a saw.

A cluttered factory can also pose problems – workers may waste valuable time trying to find something that hasn’t been stored properly, or suffer from cramped conditions that affects their ability to work. In any case, a clean and tidy factory floor will allow workers to focus on their job and apply their full attention to producing quality products as quickly as possible. Suffice to say, this will raise dramatically productivity and boost the bottom line of your business.


2. Safety

Safety is a key concern for industrial premises, especially when considering the amount of heavy machinery and harmful substances in close proximity to each other. Dangerous work environments can have serious consequences, as according to the HSE, over 3,000 manufacturing workers reported work-related ill health in the last year, with a total of 15 fatalities across the sector

Keeping your factory floor clean can make the difference between crippling injury and saving lives. Hazards such as spillages or objects being left in a walkway can result in a slip, trip, or fall, which may have disastrous consequences if combined with a separate hazard. At the same time, dust and dirt might produce harmful gases such as methane or carbon dioxide, which could build up and cause respiratory harm, especially for those with asthma or other conditions.

Cleaning is vital to mitigating these risks – tending to spillages quickly means there’s less time for an accident to occur, whereas regular cleaning of problem areas can prevent the build-up of harmful substances and gases.


3. Hygiene

Maintaining a good level of hygiene in your factory will stop contaminants from getting into your products or packaging. This is particularly important for food factories, as contaminated food may be discovered by a consumer and need to be recalled, which will ruin your brand reputation and cost a great deal. For other types of products, such as materials or cosmetics, contaminants may reduce their quality and lead to a poor customer experience, which could prove just as damaging.

Many factories struggle with outbreaks of bacteria such as E. coli, listeria, or salmonella which linger on their floors. Stringent hygiene procedures are needed to combat this – from simple handwashing procedures to wearing PPE such as hair nets and proper footwear. Of course, regularly sanitising surfaces such as floors and countertops will do much to prevent the further spread of bacteria.


4. Compliance

As a highly watched industry, factories and manufacturing premises must comply with certain regulations set out by the government. These include The Food Standards Act 1999, The Health & Safety At Work Act 1974, and The Factories Act 1961, which establish the standards and conditions that manufacturing premises must abide by.

Cleaning can help resolve many issues raised by this legislation – whether it be preventing cross-contamination, improving worker safety, or stopping the build-up of harmful pathogens. This will help keep your factory compliant with all the relevant legislation, and prevent shutdowns or oversight following an audit or inspection.


5. Appearance

A factory’s appearance can have substantial influence over how your premises, company, and brands are perceived. A pristine facility, cleaned extensively, will impress clients and visitors, helping to attract business and top talent to your company.

While some might think the appearance of a factory matters little, most sites see plenty of traffic from factory workers, site staff, deliveries, contractors, and visiting managers. For every person that steps on-site, an impression will form in their mind, which may very well be passed onto friends, family, and colleagues. Your factory would much rather leave a positive impression than a negative one, as perception can go a long way, resulting in lower revenue and market share if your premises is found to be lacking.


6. Pollution

With claims that factories are responsible for 2/3rd of climate change, the pollution that factories put into the environment is an increasingly problematic topic. While some types of pollution, like air pollution, cannot be tackled by cleaning, cleaning still plays a pivotal role in reducing your factory’s environmental harm.

Pollutants are often released during the manufacturing, storage, handling, and transport of your product, but by implementing cleaning procedures and tackling the problem head on, pollution can be brought to a minimum.


What Measures Can Be Taken To Improve Your Factory’s Hygiene?

A combination of scheduled and targeted cleaning will allow you to maintain high standards of hygiene across your factory premises.

It’s useful to start with a detailed assessment of where the problem areas lie, and what possible risks are present in different areas. This will help you devise a cleaning schedule that suits your factory layout and type, which should consist of routine and intermittent cleaning. The most used areas, such as countertops, and key problem areas, like floors, should be cleaned daily. On top of this – machinery, equipment, and changing rooms should be cleaned regularly, at least 2-3 times per week, to prevent bacteria accumulating.

As for other areas that are not easily accessible, or those that are critical to everyday operations – do not forget about them when it comes to cleaning. Your factory will need to undergo intensive deep cleans, usually once a month, to reach into every corner and crevice and root out bacteria. Unsurprisingly, industrial cleaning equipment and products will need to be deployed to give your factory the full cleaning it requires. While these items may be expensive, more basic equipment will simply not cut it.

As a further measure, factories can identify and resolve hygiene problems far easier if a robust reporting process is in place. Employees should be encouraged and trained to report any ongoing issues to their line manager or the appropriate department. This may be something they notice in their day-to-day role, or something they spot whilst walking past. Either way, staff should feel comfortable reporting their concerns, which will allow maintenance, engineering, or cleaning to resolve any issues as soon as possible.


How Vanguard Can Improve Your Factory’s Hygiene

With such detailed and bespoke cleaning required, many factories will find it difficult to have the in-house staff and equipment needed to tend to their interior. Therefore, turning to a professional cleaning company like Vanguard can alleviate these obstacles and become a lucrative investment for your factory cleanliness and the bottom line of your business.

As a specialist cleaning company, Vanguard Cleaning are experts in factory hygiene protocols. Our staff training is accredited by the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc), which equips our personnel with the knowledge and skills they need to tend to every part of your factory. Whether that be a specialist piece of machinery, a food preparation area, or a hazardous zone – our staff know how to keep safe, and what chemicals and equipment to use to ensure an outstanding clean.

On top of this, monthly refresher training keeps our staff updated about the latest infection control and safety procedures, ensuring your factory never falls behind the leading industry standards. Depending on the size, type, and complexity of your premises, we will tailor-make our approach, ensuring every minute detail of your facility is addressed.

To receive a complimentary, no obligation quote and find out how Vanguard can improve your factory’s hygiene, be sure to contact us today.