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Cleaning up your health
and safety policy
The range of work carried out by cleaning staff the cleaning industry are slips and trips,
covers an array of activities, from simple manual handling and falls from height.
dusting and vacuuming to cleaning windows, In addition, cleaning staff also face
roofs and industrial equipment. These potential health risks such as back
activities can take place in a variety of injury and occupational dermatitis.
environments from offices and factories to
By identifying the risks, it is then
schools and hospitals, and each location
possible to establish processes that will
presents different hazards. With this in mind,
encourage staff to work safely and
it’s important to be fully aware of the potential
efficiently. Look at best practice guidelines and number of reported cases of fires occurring in
risks cleaning staff may face.
industry standards for help. It may be that laundry rooms as a result of combustion.
For those businesses that provide contract posters and signs are put in key locations Problems occur when generated heat becomes
cleaning, it is the responsibility of the business where cleaning equipment is stored to remind trapped, for example when the laundered
owner or contracts manager to carry out a risk workers about potential hazards and the articles are folded tightly, as the fabric will
assessment and liaise with the client to agree procedures they should follow, as well as a continue to oxidize. If this process continues
procedures. Where a business directly employs copy of the risk assessment. it is possible for it to catch fire, having a
its own cleaning staff, then the duty often falls
Make sure the right facilities and equipment
potentially devastating effect on the
to the supervisor or facilities manager.
are available, including adequate storage
business’ premises.
The Health and Safety Offices Act 2008 states space, protective clothing such as gloves, and If staff are responsible for laundry duties, help
that companies must review their risk prompt staff on which sinks and taps to use to minimise the risk by ensuring they know how
assessments regularly to identify significant avoid heavy buckets and wet mops being to remove all deposits of grease, fat and oil by
and common hazards within the business carried or dragged far to be refilled. washing items at the correct temperature with
This awareness not only protects employees but
the right amount of detergent and make sure
The best way to identify hazards is to walk will also safeguard the company itself from
they can recognise when items have not been
around the areas where cleaning staff will be potentially crippling litigious claims. Research
thoroughly cleaned of deposits as these can
working and note things that may pose risks. shows the average cost of defending an
contribute to the hazard.
The most common types of accidents within employment tribunal claim is estimated to be Health and safety risks are apparent in all
around £9,000, yet only 17% of workplaces and the cleaning industry is no
businesses have the essential exception. Taking a responsible approach to
commercial legal protection as remove potential hazards can result in a safer,
part of their insurance policy, more efficient working environment, ensure the
which will provide legal expenses business is protected by its insurance policy,
cover in the event of court action. and more importantly, protects lives.
It is also important to be aware of
underlying risks such as
spontaneous combustion. This
may sound dramatic but there
has been an increase in the
| TOMORROW’S CLEANING | The future of our cleaning industry
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