Supporting cleaning professionals

Matt Hayas, Global Product Manager at Hydro Systems, explains that while cleaning chemicals are intended to create healthy, safe environments, if employees don’t have the right support, issues like improperly mixed chemicals can lead to tragic consequences.

The safety of cleaning professionals has become an even more important focus during the pandemic with the reliance on frequent and thorough cleaning, often without adequate supplies of the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).

In addition, unfamiliar new products – if applied in incorrect dilutions – can result in skin and eye irritation. With new standards of cleanliness now top of mind, you need to prioritise the wellbeing of your frontline employees.

Safety offers all-round benefits

Safe workplaces can help reduce high staff turnover in the cleaning industry, and in related sectors like hospitality and foodservice. Estimates place this turnover between 200- 400%, making it challenging to train all employees properly, especially regarding which chemicals to use, how to use them correctly, and which to avoid mixing.

If you create a workplace culture valuing worker safety and wellbeing, employees may be more likely to remain in their roles longer. This improves engagement and helps reduce hiring and training costs for new workers. Enhanced safety measures can also mean fewer workplace injuries, limiting temporary replacements or reducing the burden of additional work for other employees.

It can also mean fewer worker compensation claims, lawsuits, or potential fines from Health and Safety authorities. Damage to your reputation from high profile accidents, or even disgruntled employees sharing their experiences about lapses in safety, can also be avoided.

Reviewing inventory and equipment

There are additional ways to enhance workplace safety, including reviewing your chemical inventory. Weigh the pros and cons of products with contact times up to 10 minutes, as a dwell time of this length can be difficult to achieve. Then, evaluate potential risks to workers.

With increased sensitivity around efficacy and safety, it’s important to target solutions that are gentle on surfaces and people, but tough on pathogens. Narrowing your stock of essential products also means employees have to learn how to use fewer chemicals.


Install equipment that enhances safety, such as a chemical dispenser. This is a better alternative to the traditional ‘glug- glug’ method of mixing chemicals, where diluting manually leaves employees directly exposed to potential harm. Chemical dispensers give you precise dilutions to maximise cleaning solutions, whereas improperly mixed solutions can leave behind harmful viruses, bacteria or fungi. Manual dilution can also lead to chemical overuse, which wastes product and can increase safety risks.

Choose dispensers that are easily installed and maintained, with a user-friendly interface and advanced technology for multiple dilutions. Locking capabilities further enhance safety by preventing leaks and accidental exposure.

Training and safety

Thorough employee training is essential. Workers should understand which chemical combinations can be harmful and how to properly clean and disinfect surfaces as part of a two-step cleaning process. Nevertheless, training and education won’t have the necessary impact unless it’s conducted within a workplace culture prioritising safety.

If managers lead by example, they’ll secure top-to-bottom support from employees who emulate their behaviours. Even a small, strategically placed sign reminding employees to wear PPE emphasises and reinforces safety, as does enforcing accountability and celebrating successes.

Simplify and improve

Despite major reopening preoccupations concerning the safety of your patrons, it’s essential to reassess workplace safety, especially for those maintaining your buildings. Start by reviewing the types of chemicals and tools you’re using to clean, sanitise and disinfect. Consider investing in equipment to simplify and improve the cleaning process.

Finally, training on best practices and promoting a culture of safety is key. This creates more confident and autonomous employees who, with an understanding of all aspects of cleaning, are more likely carry out their duties correctly and consistently.

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