Best Practice

LOCATION: Readymix or mortar plant ARTICLE YEAR 2019
ACTIVITY: Maintenance & Housekeeping COMPANY: Marshalls
SUB ACTIVITY: N/A COMPANY LOCATION: Marshalls Premier Mortars and Screeds
POD truck cleaning project - WINNER


The internal cleaning of Marshall’s gravity fed mortar delivery trucks known as PODs was a difficult and unpleasant task. Dried mortar needed to be removed on a regular basis from the internal walls using an electrical breaker. The hazards associated with this activity included difficult access and egress, working at height, confined space working, exposure to dust and chemicals, and the possibility of being struck by falling material. In the event of an accident, extracting an injured individual from inside the POD vehicle was difficult.

Following 2 incidents in 2017, involving material falling from the walls during cleaning, this practice was stopped.

A solution was needed to either eliminate the need for a person to enter and clean the POD or reduce the number of times the cleaning is completed and make the cleaning process less hazardous.

In addition, it was recognised that the design of the POD truck paddles was inefficient. As they were not close fitting enough to the compartment body, this potentially resulted in around 1m3 of

wasted mortar sticking to the side walls and floor with each delivery. An improvement in paddle design would minimise the amount of mortar being left in the compartment when deliveries were made and reduce the amount that needed to be cleaned off.

Marshall’s solution comprised of two elements:

  • A flexible scraper that contacted the walls was added to paddles; this significantly reduced the amount of mortar left sticking to the sides. All POD vehicles have had a standardised version of this modification installed.
  • An adjustable pressure washer was fitted with turbo nozzles. The POD vehicle is moved alongside a gantry, an operator using the pressure washer is then able to clean the POD vehicles from above. The nozzle can be rotated to enable the operator to clean the nearside of the vehicle without it being re-positioned.

The new system was installed at all operational sites. A new preventative cleaning practice was issued that included vehicle daily check sheets for both logistics and operational staff to complete.

In the event of a need to enter the vehicles, a solution was devised and implemented at several key sites, using a Davit Arm and rescue system. Confined Space training was carried out at these key sites. A video demonstrating the cleaning process was produced as a training and reference aid.


  • Reduced working at height risk
  • Reduced hazards associated with access and egress
  • Reduced risk from falling objects
  • Reduced exposure to dust and chemicals
  • Reduced exposure to HAVs
  • Reduced need for confined space working
  • Safer system for confined space working and rescue
  • Increased volume of deliveries to customers
  • More efficient and safer operation
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