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Using Gas Burnisher

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Gas BurnisherThis week’s post is about using a gas burnisher, or gas buffer have some in the industry call it. I got the idea for this weeks post from a question asked on one of the LinkedIn groups I follow and that was ”Has anybody got a best safety practice using a propane burnisher in retail stores “. So I started to think that since my company has vast experience in cleaning retail stores. For example big box retail stores like Kmart, supermarkets, retail clothing stores. I figured I would be in a good position to try to help in this situation. As with any other tool or cleaning equipment a safe operating procedure (SOP) should be developed and added to any safety Handbook as a reference for new staff and cleaners to understand how to undertake the task and what the hazards are. So feel free to use this safe operating procedure (SOP) for your business. Put it in a table form if you want to print it out and give it to your cleaners/janitors/custodians and do a toolbox talk (another subject for a blog post) on how to properly and safely use a gas burnisher.

In retail cleaning one safety concern is if there is clothing or flammable goods where you need to buff the operator must be very aware to not buff too close to the flammable goods as the muffler gets very hot and I have seen very expensive dresses being ruined and cost the cleaning company many hundreds of dollars to replace. Nothing worse than seeing a nice silk dress with black muffler stains and a nice big burn hole in the bottom from where the exhaust gases have been allowed to blow onto the dress. One of the most important things when using any type of machinery is to do a pre-start safety check and make sure that all guards and everything is in good working order and maintenance is kept up-to-date. Old broken down machinery is not good for any cleaning companies reputation and what does it say about the quality of work that you’re staff are performing for your client. As I always say if the cleaning room and the equipment does not reflect the quality of the company than what can I expect from the quality of the cleaning.

Burnishing floor with gas burnisher  NoiseInjuries to feet/ toesStrains – arms/ back/ shoulders & wrist
High speed gas burnisherPPE- Closed in footwear, hearing protection   Low – Medium




  1. Check buffer and gas cylinder for any visible damage. Check pads and drives.
  2. Check oil, when the oil is at the half empty mark call your Manager or Supervisor and inform operations.
  3. Check battery and gas.
  4.  To attach your pad tilt buffer in the direction indicated to the left, away from the filter (ensure your knees are bent). Follow safe manual handling techniques.
  5. Place clean pad on the pad disc; ensure the pad lines up evenly with the disk.
  6. Place the safety clip in centre of pad; push the clip firmly down ensuring you hear two clicks.
  7. Tilt the buffer back to its original position. Follow safe manual handling techniques.
  8. Ensure LPG bottle is connected properly- check connection to ensure gas lead from the buffer is attached to the bottle correctly; it is attached by turning the end screw anti clockwise until tight.
  9. Bring buffer out to vinyl floor ready to be started.
  10. Turn gas on at the bottle.
  11. Listen and smell around the burnisher for any gas leakage. Gas odour smells like garlic.
    • Note: If you hear or smell gas turn the gas off immediately! Do not attempt to start the machine. Reconnect the gas lead and try again. If you continue to hear or smell gas ensure the gas cylinder is turned off and contact your Supervisor immediately.
  12. If there are no signs of gas leakage you can start the buffer.Gas Burnisher


  • Always have the pad off of the floor when starting.
  • Ensure floor is clean – never burnish a dirty floor.
  • Pads must be clean.
  • When burnishing you must walk at a slow steady pace.
  • Assess noise level and use PPE if required.
  • Always use left side of the machine to do edges.


  • When you have finished buffing turn off gas at the bottle, return buffer to its designated area and remove pad.
  • Check machine (safety & maintenance) and clean exterior of machine taking special caution to avoid the exhaust as this may be very hot.
  • Store safe and secure.
  • Ensure that the gas bottle is turned off.

Note: If you have any concerns in relation to the maintenance of the machine, call your Area Manager or Supervisor.


  1.  Ensure the buffer is switched off.
  2.  Ensure no source of ignition is present.
  3. Close the valve on the empty LPG cylinder.
  4.  Cover the battery with a non-conductive material to eliminate the risk of the gas bottle coming into contact with the battery as this can cause an arc.
  5. Remove the manifold from the cylinder.
  6. Remove the empty LPG cylinder.
  7. Replace with a new cylinder. Always check that the cylinder is not damaged and is approved by checking the testing date to ensure that it is current.
  8. Connect the manifold of the new LPG cylinder.
  9. Do not over tighten as this will damage the brass thread.
  10. Open the valve on the cylinder and make sure connection is gas-tight. In case of any doubt, apply detergent solution to the connection with a brush: bubbling indicates a leak.

NOTE: Never search for a leak with a naked flame. If a leak is suspected, immediately close the main valve on the cylinder and notify your Supervisor. Your Supervisor will decide what action should be taken to solve the problem (e.g. replace manifold or cylinder or both).

So there you have it my safe operating procedure( SOP) for using a gas burnisher. If it has been of help to you and your company feel free to like it, share it, or drop me a comment. Also I have just finished finalising the terms for the new redesign of which is exciting. The website is now a couple of years old and definitely needs an upgrade. This was my first website and I have learnt much since then so I’m really excited to see when it’s finished. It should make it much more easier to navigate and get some cleaning training, or search for cleaners, janitors or custodians be sure to pop over and have a look.

Until next time this is Ray signing off.


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