Proper Disposal of Workshop Rags

Believe it or not efficient use of rags in a workshop can save you substantial time and money. However, some people are still unaware of the very real dangers of dirty rags coupled with the residue and substances they accumulate. In the workshop environment rags are used for different purposes, from cleaning grease off mechanical parts to simply wiping perspiration away. They subsequently collect a lot of different chemicals and oils. When these rags aren’t disposed of correctly or are managed poorly, the chemicals on the rags can sometimes mix or be exposed to one another for too long with potentially dire consequences.

As we all know, chemistry can be dangerous, and when certain chemicals interact they can produce heat, fire or even poisonous gas emissions. There have been events in the past which have led to entire workshops or garages burning down, with hundreds of thousands of Rands worth of equipment and vehicles inside - simply due to careless handling of used rags. One of the most dangerous consequences of improper rags disposal is odourless poison gas releases, when some chemicals combine. These gases pose a major threat as they can harm the health of staff and management without detection, until it may be too late!

These kinds of incidents are not as farfetched as you may suspect. In fact these dangers have been recognised and have slowly been reduced over the past hundred or so years, with codes of conduct and operational procedures being written for workshop rags disposal. Unfortunately, there are still some who don’t understand why these rules are in place and sometimes neglect them. For those who still just throw their rags in the corner or toss them in the same bag without considering the implications first, chances are they have been lucky so far. The dangers of improper rag management are present, and just as we have insurance in place against potential risks, it is equally important to take precautions with the disposal of your rags.

Here are a few tips to keep you and your environment safer and cleaner:

  • Don’t try to wash and reuse oily rags – The chemicals that go into our drainage systems need to be disposed of properly in a landfill or appropriate facility.
  • Separate your rags for their different uses (petrol rags; grease rags; paint rags etc.) and understand the potential dangers of each substance.
  • Designate a large container with a tight lid in your workshop or garage to hold the rags until they can be properly disposed of. Filling this container about halfway with the right detergent, plus water, is fantastic for neutralising most chemical dangers.

While the above guidelines are essential, choosing a quality product is just as important. For high quality rags and various other industrial consumables contact Fastflex today, and find out about our comprehensive range of products!

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