How To Clean and Sanitize Your Storage Tank Silos
Running a workplace in which heavy machinery is present calls for many different cleaning and safety preparation protocols. Although you might understand the importance of cleaning and safety preparation, you might not know exactly which machines require these actions and how you should supply them. For example, storage tank silos hold ingredients such as flour, sugar, and grain. In order to keep these ingredients safe for consumption after storage, the designated silo needs the right level of care and maintenance.
When it comes to cleaning storage silos, many facilities reach out to trained specialists to get the job done. Even if you choose that route for your cleaning needs, it’s still important to understand how the process works so you know what to expect—or, at least, what you should expect. Continue reading to discover how to clean and sanitize your storage tank silos correctly. That way, you can keep the workplace as safe as it is productive.
First, let’s break down the basics regarding cleaning leftover material residue from the silo. The process begins with trained employees and their trusty plastic scrapers. Metal scrapers can create sparking in the silo, which is a significant health hazard in these areas, even during cleaning. In some cases, specialists will use brushes to remove materials stuck on the walls, but typically, you’ll see plastic scrapers as the go-to tool for silo cleaning.
With the right knowledge and tools, the cleaning crew must scrape the walls clean to prevent any leftover materials from building up and contaminating future batches you’ll store in the silo. Assuming this is a very simple process is understandable. “I just scrape the walls? I can do that in an hour!”
Unfortunately, this process isn’t quite so quick. An extensive amount of time, planning, preparation, and care goes into cleaning the walls of any grain storage silo. The duration of this task can vary from several hours to most of your workday, so be wary of cutting corners to minimize cleaning time—sanitizing silos is vital for keeping the products within it safe and secure. When doing this, taking your time is key.
Obviously, when someone scrapes old ingredients off silo walls, those materials don’t simply evaporate or walk themselves into the nearest trash bin. Instead, the residue will collect on the silo’s floor. To remove them, the crew should vacuum them up. The cleaning crew can do this after the scraping or brushing. They could do it during if they wanted, but the latter is the most efficient method.
However, simply hopping into the silo and beginning to vacuum without any safety preparations is dangerous. First off, there should be no “hopping into the silo” whatsoever when vacuuming. The designated operators attach the vacuum at the base of the silo so they can suck out those leftover ingredients successfully.
Furthermore, vacuuming the bottom of storage tank silos can generate static electricity, which is incredibly dangerous for anyone inside the silo. Thankfully, silo cleaners frequently prevent such accidents by grounding the vacuum. You can ground the vacuum by attaching a wooden pole to the hose. It’s simple, smart, and safe.
As evidenced by the breakdown above, the basics of cleaning silos is pretty straightforward—you scrape, and you vacuum. However, getting the details right is what makes the difference between thorough sanitation and lackluster sanitation. Speaking of safe, let’s address the aforementioned safety precautions one must take when initially scraping the silo walls.
Although it’s the second point in this guide, safety must always come first when cleaning silos. We already went through the steps to preventing sparks in the silo, but that’s not the only safety concern present.
As mentioned above, scraping walls sounds straightforward, but there are some major safety issues you must consider, such as falling and having unsafe air quality. Below, we’ll dive into these essential safety issues. Sticking to OSHA standards regarding confined spaces is always a must, but below, we’ll go into more detail about staying safe, specifically when cleaning silos for holding materials such as grain, flour, and sugar.
Fall protection is essential because the sheer size of silos calls for the need to elevate the cleaning crew. If you were only cleaning portions of the silo you could reach from the base, you wouldn’t be removing many contaminants. Thankfully, a suitable safety harness will keep employees stable, elevated, and most importantly, out of harm’s way.
To ensure the safety harnesses are suitable for workers, they all must carefully inspect the devices before wearing them. Injuries resulting from falling at great heights is a common workplace occurrence that can have dire results. Although falling is a common industrial workplace accident, it’s also an avoidable accident. By using the proper safety protocols while cleaning your silos, the workplace remains as responsible and productive as it should be.
Although the air in a silo might seem fine to the naked eye, there can still be harmful particles present. Toxic gases, chemicals, and other contaminants can be present in the air within silos storing food products. Suffice it to say that providing breathable air to employees should always be a top priority. For this very reason, the cleaning crew must test the air before conducting their tasks. They ensure the air in your silo is free of contaminants, and they also must clarify whether there are sufficient oxygen levels inside of the silo.
Combustibles can also be present in silos, making matters even worse. Since these dangerous particles in the air aren’t always clearly visible, cleaning crews must have the knowledge and training to prevent employees from inhaling them. Thankfully, testing and optimizing silo air quality through actions such as proper ventilation can make the area safe for workers.
Wrap-ups and Reminders
These are the essentials for cleaning your silos, from the right tools your crew should use to the safety measures they must take during every single cleaning session. However, if using additional cleaning chemicals, check your manufacturer’s recommendation; they may vary.
As you can see, learning how to clean and sanitize your storage tank silos allows you to keep the workplace responsible, respectable, and safe. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any inquiries regarding DoverMEI silo tanks in your workplace. Productivity is always a workplace priority, but that doesn’t mean safety should ever take a backseat during your day-to-day operations.