If we stop to think about the cleaning industry, it is probably the only industry together with the utilities industries that provides its services to all the other industries. Employing large number of people in all sectors of the economy from schools to hospitals, public places to private offices, shops to factories. With an extensive work range that covers all cleaning activities from strenuous industrial cleaning jobs to day to day office cleaning services and even household cleaning can be included.
In this article I’ll take an in-depth look at health and safety for office cleaning services. Before I dig any deeper into this subject, did you know that a risk assessment is required before a company can start to provide its office cleaning services? Please share your thoughts in our comments section below.
That said, lets take a look on how to create a Risk Assessment for a new cleaning contractor. Risk assessments are not rocket science but do need special attention as they are used to identify hazardous working conditions and provide practical actions to protect people from harm and injury.
According to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) to create a risk assessment you only need to follow 5 steps:
- Identify Hazardous workplaces and possible working conditions
- Point out who and how workers can be harmed by the hazards
- Evaluate the risks and decide on precaution
- Record your findings and implement them
- Review your assessment and update if necessary
An example of an office cleaning risk assessment can be found at the HSE’s website as a pdf file.
Now we all have a brief on how to create and the importance of a risk assessment for office cleaning services, lets take a look at the most common injuries and accidents faced by cleaning professionals working inside offices and buildings in general.
The three most common accidents faced by office cleaners are slips and trips, manual handling and falls from height. These accidents are directly related to the most common injuries affecting the cleaning industry. They are: Injury to backs and upper limbs and occupational dermatitis.
To sum things up I’d like to point out a few working places and conditions where there might be risks for those of you working or hiring office cleaning services.
Wet floors are the most common working condition with a certain accident degree of risk. Make sure all staff are provided with anti-slippery footwear and wet floors are signalled at all times.
Electricity is another area to be extremely aware of, ensure that all cables are covered properly; sockets are not overloaded with too many power leads and keep water away from these areas.
Storage room cleaning, ensure that all the old file’ boxes are pilled up evenly and do not exceed the recommended stacking height to avoid them falling on people.
Having covered the basics of health and safety within the cleaning industry now you are more prepared an aware of what needs to be done before you hire a cleaning company. In most cases, cleaning companies offer the risk assessment for free and prior to you signing their contract.