Safety should always be a primary focus of maintenance operations at huge e-commerce distribution centers. From wet mopping floors to sanitizing bathrooms and breakrooms on a regular schedule, thorough maintenance – integrated into the daily workflow – is essential for safety.

Dust itself is a major problem and a strategy for controlling it must be developed. There are two main types of dust found at e-commerce centers. One is corrugate dust – micro-fine particles caused by the processing and handling of corrugated boxes. The other is concrete dust caused by construction.

Corrugate dust is especially dangerous on floors. Not only is it invisible, but it’s also very slippery. In an environment where people are constantly moving, it must be managed by wet mopping.

Corrugate dust is also a big nuisance around large pieces of equipment with exposed lube joints. The dust collects on the greasy joints and makes preventive maintenance more difficult.

The best way to control corrugate dust overall is to install high-volume air filtration systems and follow up with regular cleaning and maintenance of all parts, especially filters.

The other form of dangerous dust is concrete dust. It is generated during retro-fits, renovations, and expansions. Many centers are embedding wires into the floors to direct robots. Concrete saws cut lines in the floor and create an incredible amount of dust that can float and settle as high as eight feet or more above the ground!

Concrete dust is very dangerous to breathe. Its management may require using powerful vacuums outfitted with HEPA filters. Often, the trained personnel handling the cleaning must wear OSHA-approved masks to avoid breathing in the dust.

Dust in all of its forms is dangerous and unsafe. To properly control it, e-commerce distribution centers must implement specific procedures, equipment, and special training.