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Health and safety is crucially important to the converging cleaning, facilities management and recycling industries and, because

my company works across all of these sectors, keeping an eye on developments is very important. As a subscriber to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) e-bulletin, we receive regular updates on incidents and outcomes. Some of the most recent involved a landlord taken to court after an offi ce tenant fell through a fi re escape, a powder coating fi rm in court after a worker injured their hand, and a foundry fi ned after a person fell through a roof while cleaning gutters.

I believe that the cleaning industry is continuing to improve its record when it comes to health and safety. The professionalisation of the job, thanks to training specialists and awarding organisations that tailor their course content and qualifi cations to suit the specifi c needs of the cleaning sector, is undoubtedly helping. Health and

As an industry that has one of the greatest connections with the general public, the implications for lapses in health and safety are

proportionate. Accidents that occur as a result of slips, trips and falls can cause serious injury and can be avoided. The cleaning industry does, I’m sure, it’s best to enforce the highest standards of health and safety, both for the workforce and the general public. If you consider the types of buildings that are cleaned by contractors – such as shopping malls, government buildings, schools and hospitals – the footfall is immense. The cleaning industry must be an example; otherwise, the consequences for the cleaning and insurance industries


safety modules should be an integral part of any cleaning qualifi cation, and managers and their operatives need to be aware of any changes to guidelines or regulations. The HSE recently updated its guidance on working at height, a subject of great importance to the cleaning sector, and this can be found on the HSE website, along with a whole host of other valuable information.

Health and safety is something that cleaning contractors and their operatives deliver – day in, day out – to their clients. Without an effi cient and effective cleaning service to rid buildings and locations of debris and rubbish, the risk of slips and falls increases. Dirty facilities also breed germs, affecting the health and well- being of those using the building.

Innovations such as battery-powered fl oor cleaning machines have been introduced to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls, while colour- coded cleaning implements are now used widely to prevent cross- contamination. In these ways, and many more besides, the cleaning

would be catastrophic.

With all these points in mind, the cleaning industry cannot afford to assume that there is no room for improvement. The vast majority of accidents attributed to the cleaning industry are slips and trips – the cause in most cases is wet fl oors, so perhaps we should look at ways of reducing these instances by assessing the method of cleaning fl oors in buildings where large numbers of people move about. Dry cleaning can take place daily, and polishing, spraying or spot cleaning can take place weekly, depending on the nature of the dirt. Dry cleaning includes dry dust mopping, where dust and loose dirt is removed from smooth fl oors with a dry mopping device and a dust attracting disposable cloth, such as Masslinn cloths. Dry systems use little or no liquid, the fl oor remains

This month we ask... when i is the cleaning industry an e

dry after cleaning and it can be walked on immediately.

However, the choice between dry and wet cleaning depends on the nature of the job. For sticky dirt, dry cleaning is not suffi cient, and a wet system must be used, but should we not be considering other options when assessing the cleaning schedule? In my personal conclusion, the cleaning industry is both an example and an offender, although I suspect this would be the case for any industry under scrutiny.

Brian Boll, Systems Director, Jigsaw Cleaning

industry continues to make progress, but there is no room for complacency or error. Cleaning contractors have a duty to keep both their operatives and their clients safe from injury and harm – with such heightened awareness of health and safety issues, backed by readily available guidance and training opportunities, there really is no excuse.

Ceris Burns Managing Director, Ceris Burns International

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