Interview: Keeping up-to-date on health and safety for professional office cleaning services
World Safe Day 2017: Health and Safety Expert Insight into Office Cleaning – and how companies can respond to latest changes
On 2017’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work, Stuart Hardman of HardmanHSC, Health and Safety Consultants, outlines key changes in the industry, what cleaning companies need to pay particular attention to and how Swift Office Cleaning Services has a positive culture embracing the health and safety directives.
The last 2 years has seen a great change in legislation for health and safety practices. The CLP Regulation for the classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals and substances has been revised and all companies’ risk assessment documents needed to be updated according to the new guidelines; there are new symbols to use amongst many other things to consider. As a professional cleaning company, Swift Office Cleaning Services uses cleaning chemicals on a daily basis so this particular regulation was of upmost importance.
Risk assessments have been carried out for each and every chemical product, we’ve looked at the associated risks with them for example, absorption into the skin or inhalation, and then of course recommended how to protect the cleaning operatives from these with personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing, for example, or switching to less harmful chemicals.
This is something that Swift Office Cleaning Services has been particularly keen on, especially being in line with their green cleaning initiatives. The less harmful a product is to the environment, the less harmful it is to the people using it – it’s a natural movement for a company who cares about it’s staff but also one that wants to make a positive impact on the environment.
Prior to the CLP Regulation changes, one of the biggest movements in the industry has been regarding working at heights. Due to the advances in technology, companies have been able to reduce the use of ladders in the workplace, for example, when window cleaning, and now use specialised equipment and platforms. This has made a huge difference to reducing incidents in the workplace across all sectors generally.
Another significant change for health and safety is the Occupational Health and Safety Assessments Series (OHSAS) updating to an international standard in line with other ISO standards. In the next 12 months, the OHSAS 18001 regulation is due to change to ISO 45001.
This revised standard will be inline with other ISO standards resulting in a standard which promotes greater top level commitment and involvement in organisations, in operations there will be greater understanding of risks and how to deal with these, plus a greater emphasis on monitoring and measuring activity to fit with objectives.
Swift Office Cleaning Services are OHSAS 18001 compliant and the move to ISO 45001 will be a natural transition as they have already achieved ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 accreditation for their quality and environmental management systems.
Swift Office Cleaning Services is a company which promotes a positive culture for health and safety in the workplace, everyone embraces the initiatives and is included in the training – it’s a team effort.
Account Managers carry out monthly inspections on all premises to ensure that all health and safety guidelines are being followed correctly. Risk assessments are carried out at each site, every cleaning operative is fully trained, all equipment is PAT tested accordingly. These are all part of Swift Office Cleaning Services’ responsibility for keeping their staff safe and ensuring their wellbeing within the buildings in which they operate.
Recognising best health and safety practices on days such as World Day for Safety and Health at Work is a great way to keep these essential daily practices at the forefront of all companies, whatever industry they are in.
If you’re an Office Manager – read more about the common hazards in the workplace here and download our infographic.