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Setting store in warehouse cleaning

Failure in handling materials, sampling and testing; storing them at anything other than their individual required temperature, not tracking them, delays in cleaning spillage etc. lead to contamination of the pharma warehouse. With five years of experience as commercial manager of a leading pharma company and now a service provider to pharma units, Mihir Shah, Founder, Shineup takes us into the world of pharma warehouse maintenance.

Challenges of pharma warehouse cleaning

  • Warehouses receive as well as dispatch material, and tend to be humongous, making cleaning a challenging job. Due to the massive height of the warehouse, it is difficult to reach all corners of it.
  • Filters and ducts of AHU located on the ceiling or on side walls are at a height, and difficult to clean.
  • Cleaning cobwebs, mould or fungus on the ceiling or walls is a challenge since they are difficult to locate due to poor visibility.
  • Spillage of specialised raw material or chemicals can be difficult to handle, since general chemicals won’t work or may not be advisable to use. Hence, spillage needs special attention and processes for cleaning, apart from immediate action.
  • An occasional lack of records and if available, tracking them regularly is a challenge. For e.g., taking the decision to dispose of expired materials on time is most important to avoid the risk of bioload in warehouses.
  • On the exterior of the warehouse, a major challenge is to avoid bird nests.
  • Lastly, cleaning, sanitisation and storage of housekeeping tools, trolleys and machineries are neglected at times, which prove to be a major carrier of germs across the warehouse.

A properly managed housekeeping team can deliver miraculous results in maintaining any warehouse. For an auditor, it’s easy to look for observations related to housekeeping since non-performance is clearly visible during the walkthrough of any audit.

Correct chemical usage

A properly trained supervisor needs to oversee dilution of chemicals, since the end result is adversely affected if done incorrectly. The process and sequence of using chemicals should be thoroughly tested and validated before incorporating it in the SOP. Supporting test reports are required.

Cleaning, drying and sanitisation of cleaning tools, trolleys and machineries at regular intervals can forestall contamination of the warehouse, because these tools are more prone to contamination and are more likely to spread bioload wherever they are used.

Mihir Shah

 

Cleaning at heights

With the recent development in tools and machineries, reaching the ceiling with the help of telescopic poles attached to a washer or combie helps in better cleaning with less efforts. There are battery operated automatic scissor lift ladders which help you in reaching all the corners of the warehouse.

Cleaning of cleaning equipment

Cleaning, drying and sanitisation of cleaning tools, trolleys and machineries at regular intervals can forestall contamination of the warehouse, because these tools are more prone to contamination and are more likely to spread bioload wherever they are used. Replacement and repair of cleaning tools shouldn’t be neglected. A separate clean area should be dedicated to store them while they are at rest.

For the outer area of the warehouse, there are nets and spikes available to avoid the entry of birds.

Cold storage area cleaning

This depends on what is being stored, the size of the unit and many other parameters:

  • Keeping the floor and surface clean and clear all the time is a must.
  • For dry dust: Wiping with dry cloth/dipped in warm water or you may use a specialised cold storage cleaner, which is solvent-based. Water-based chemicals are not advisable.
  • Mould development is a major concern, which is most likely to happen when warm air passes inside the cold storage, leading to condensation on the wall, ultimately favouring growth of mold. Hence, doors should always be shut properly and locked while moving in and out of cold storage. Ensure door accessories and seals which block the passage of air are functioning properly.
  • In case of mould development, diluted household bleach can be used to clean, but ensuring a dry surface after cleaning is important to avoid water freezing on the surface.
  • For sanitisation of huge cold storage areas, there are automated machines which fumigate the entire cold storage with the press of a button. Hydrogen peroxide nebulisation is what the machine does for micro-aerosol disinfection of cold storage.

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