How do I address hazards and risks with cleaning?
As you know, Health and safety law applies to all businesses. If you manage the cleaning yourself, you need to be doing risk assessments for the cleaning as well. It’s important to take precautions by managing the cleaning in a way that reduces risks of hazards and provides a safe working environment for your whole team.
This might sound scary but it’s simple to do. If you get the basics right and buy-in from your team, you can be confident that you’ve taken steps to make your workplace a safe environment.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) site has a section on cleaning specifically. We’ve outlined a few examples on what you can do to take the right precautions.
Hazard detection in cleaning risk assessment
Cleaning involves moving around a lot of furniture, using equipment which has power cables and in some cases, caustic cleaning products. This presents a few potential hazards around trips and fumes from harsh chemicals. As the manager, you & your Health and Safety professional can use the HSE website as a great guide to identifying hazards and taking proper steps to address them.
Make sure that you keep a record of hazards and what you’ve done to address them. Make sure that this is communicated with your team so that your team can take steps to look after themselves.
Your team are your ‘eyes and ears’ to cleaning risk assessment for your business. Build in a culture of safety within your organisation so that risks are consistently identified and handled.
As well as it being a legal requirement to consult all your employees on health and safety, it’s a good thing to do for staff wellbeing. This doesn’t need to be complicated either. You can simply do this opening a two-way dialogue about:
- Health and safety concerns that they have in the course of their work
- Empowering them to control these risks
- The best ways to communicate with your staff
Your team has the best understanding of what’s involved in their job and as such, frequently are the best people to understand risks. Creating this dialogue is great for employee wellbeing and it shows that you care.
Through your cleaning risk assessment, you have identified a risk when cleaning your site. You now need to take steps to mitigate that risk. Good practice when building a culture of safety is to empower your cleaning team to do this.
For example, give your cleaning the freedom to properly assess cleaning products and change if necassary. Another way would be to consult with them about best ways to schedule the cleaning so that it’s both safe and efficient. Allow flexibility where appropriate on time of cleaning to help minimise the risk of slips and trips from wet floors.
It’s these simple changes that help your team to do what’s needed in a way that’s both effective and safe. Your cleaning team will also feel like you’ve listened to their concerns and as such, you’ll help to improve employee buy-in.
Get in touch if you have any questions