Some people might curse Health & Safety and say it’s gone too far. In our youth, we climbed trees, jumped on and off buses whilst in motion, rode our bikes without helmets and sat in the backs of our parents cars without a seatbelt. Today, it’s all changed. Some may say, Health & Safety has gone too far, but in business, it’s something we take seriously and we have to ensure everyone within the company knows the rules.

Cleaners may use certain chemicals or machinery which could cause harm to the user. It is the responsibility of all businesses to ensure their staff are appropriately trained and aware of regulations. The risk of harm can be minimised through training and raising awareness to ensure employees are kept safe and free from danger and injury.

Risk Assessment – (carried out at regular intervals)

Health and safety risk assessments are a legal requirement.

This is something which is considered at the earliest stage of planning any cleaning project or job, alongside the cleaning checklist. The objective of the risk assessment is to identify any hazards which have a potential to cause injury or harm. Safe working practises can be put into place to ensure those involved avoid problems in their working environment.

The level of detail in a risk assessment should be proportionate to the risk.

Minor hazards, such as someone replacing scent in an air freshener, can be identified within a risk assessment relatively easily, however, use of complex machinery such as hydraulic lifts for window cleaning, abseil equipment for window cleaning etc will need to be much more detailed, as the risk is much higher.

Contractors & Subcontractors

It is vital to ensure everyone who works on the premises is aware of the risk assessment and procedures put into place, detailing the level of risk they may be exposed to whilst working on the premises. Reports would identify the risk and the appropriate measures needed to be taken, to minimise risk of injury to themselves and others whilst in operation at the premises.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 (COSHH)

Most businesses use substances, or products that are mixtures of substances. Some processes create substances. These could cause harm to employees, contractors and other people.

You can prevent or reduce workers’ exposure to hazardous substances by:

  • finding out what the health hazards are;
  • deciding how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment);
  • providing control measures to reduce harm to health;
  • making sure they are used;
  • keeping all control measures in good working order;
  • providing information, instruction and training for employees and others;
  • providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases;
  • planning for emergencies.

Staff must be trained to:

  • Read container labels and understand the potential risk to themselves and others
  • Use chemicals for their intended purpose only, following safe application procedures
  • Use correct safety products e.g. gloves, masks, goggles and overalls
  • Store chemicals in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations.

Risk management

The following information helps you to manage the risks when working with manufactured nanomaterials.

Risk management basics

Risk management in detail

Further information on the topic of risk management

PPE – Personal Protective Equipment

All members are staff are provided with relevant protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, safety shoes and equipment, when necessary. Team managers are tasked to ensure adequate PPE is issued to cleaning operatives.Staff trained for specific tasks are reminded of their responsibilities.

  • PPE is for use at work and for the task it was specifically provided for
  • Reminder to use PPE correctly
  • Regular inspections of any PPE supplied

Safe Working Practices

DefinitionSafe work practices are generally written methods outlining how to perform a task with minimum risk to people, equipment, materials, environment, and processes. Safe job procedures are a series of specific steps that guide a worker through a task from start to finish in a chronological order.

Safe work practices should be developed as a result of completing a Hazard Assessment and should closely reflect the activities most common in the company’s type or sector of construction.

  • Checklists & Forms
  • Equipment
  • Fall Protection
  • Hazards
  • Occupational Health
  • Traffic Control
  • Tools

All safe work practices should be kept in a location central to the work being performed and readily available to the workforce. Some safe work practices will require specific job procedures, which clearly set out in a chronological order each step in a process.

Slips, Trips & Falls

People must be able to move around the workplace safely. Slipstrips and falls are among the most common causes of accidents and injury at work. Visitors may also be at risk, both inside and outside premises under your control.

For example: 

As part of the cleaning services we provide, regular floor cleaning takes place. With solid floors in particular, any exposure to liquid greatly increases the risk of slip and trip accidents, both to cleaning staff and other people.

As part of the Health & Safety and Working Practises, staff must clearly display signs to warn of a potential hazard, to minimise the risk of an incident. Cleaning staff should wear appropriate footwear with an effective grip. Until the floors are clean, dry and safe to use, signage must remain in place.

Bulk Liquids and Decanting Factors

It is common place for commercial cleaning operators to purchase cleaning materials in bulk. Liquids can be decanted into smaller bottles for ease of use. Clear labelling must be used to ensure Health & Safety is be adhered to. Reading the label and manufactures advice is required.

Best practise for this includes:

  • Using corrects funnels and procedures to decant liquids
  • Correctly clean up all materials and dispose of waste in the correct manner
  • Correct labelling of all containers to avoid unlabelled liquids
  • Avoid using any unknown liquids without correct labelling

Dangers of Powered Equipment

Beyond adequate training and awareness of Health and Safety and good Working Practises, it is the responsibility of the user to ensure they are fit to carry out the task, to which they are assigned. When using potentially dangerous equipment, it is important to follow these guidelines.

  • Visual checks to ensure equipment is in good working order prior to use
  • Power leads, plugs and wiring appears safe, correctly terminated and fully operational
  • Report any malfunctioning or visual deficiencies to appropriate team leaders / managers
  • Use machinery for the purpose intended only
  • Avoid using machinery in conditions beyond that of manufacturer recommendations
  • Only use correct power points and fuse rating for machinery plugs
  • Maintain machinery mechanically and hygienically
  • Clean all equipment after use

So Clean

Commercial Cleaning solutions for your businesses in Kent, London and the Southeast. If you have any questions about this document or our services, please get in touch with us directly.