How Cleaning Affects Health and Safety and What Are the HSE Requirements?
In this blog post, we will be writing about the important topic of how cleaning practices can impact health and safety, and the essential Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requirements that facility managers and cleaning company owners should look to adhere to. We will explore the reasons why this is of important in the industry and how it can affect the health of everyone involved in maintaining clean and safe environments.
Poor cleaning practices can lead to a range of health hazards, from the spread of infectious diseases to the onset of respiratory problem caused by allergens. Additionally, accidents and injuries resulting from slippery floors can pose a huge risk to both employees and visitors. Recognizing and understanding potential risks and then taking appropriate actions is vital in ensuring the well-being of all people who interact with these workplaces.
Understanding the Health Risks in Cleaning
When cleaning is overlooked or completed poorly, it opens the door to potential health risks. In this section, we will discuss the effects of poor cleaning and press the importance of maintaining robust health and safety standards.
Spread of Infectious Diseases:
Poorly cleaned areas can become the perfect grounds for illnesses such as common colds to more severe infections like influenza and gastroenteritis, unclean areas can enable the transmission of germs, posing a threat to the health of visitors and workers alike. A contaminated surface can become an opportunity for infection, emphasizing the need for a thorough cleaning regimen.
Dust, pollen, pet fur, and mould are common allergens that can collect in places with poor cleaning schedules. For people with these allergies, exposure to these irritants can trigger discomfort and potential health issues. Regular cleaning, including dusting, vacuuming, and maintaining proper ventilation within the site can play an important role in reducing these allergies.
Your cleaning routine most likely involves the usage of multiple cleaning chemicals. If these products are not used, stored, or diluted properly, they can cause health risks to both cleaning personnel and users of the workplace. Harsh chemicals may lead to skin irritations, respiratory problems, and other reactions. Using eco-friendly cleaning chemicals, along with proper training is fundamental to reducing chemical-related health hazards.
Slips, Trips, and Falls:
Lacklustre cleaning can make surfaces slippery and hazardous, making people more likely to have accidents like slips, trips, and falls. Wet and cluttered corridors are all potential hazards that can result in injuries to both staff and visitors. Attentive and regular cleaning is critical in reducing these accidents and making sure incidents don’t occur.
Making sure you know the potential health risks associated with poor cleaning helps you and your cleaning team maintain a clean and hygienic space.
Understanding HSE Requirements
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), is the governing body responsible for regulating workplace health and safety in the United Kingdom. It plays a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being of employees and the public. In this section, we will explore what the HSE requirements involve and shed light on why they are crucial in maintaining a safe and healthy working environment.
Understanding the HSE:
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a government body dedicated to preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and accidents. Their role encompasses a wide range of industries, including facility management and cleaning services. The HSE sets forth guidelines, regulations, and codes of practice that are designed to reduce risks and promote safety within the workplace.
Legal Obligations and Compliance:
Compliance with HSE requirements is a legal obligation for businesses and organizations. Facility managers and cleaning company owners must know the specific HSE guidelines that apply to their industry and ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to safeguard the health and safety of those within the workplace. If these requirements are not met, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or local authority can take legal action against you and your business under criminal law.
One of the fundamental aspects of HSE requirements is the implementation of thorough risk assessments. This involves identifying hazards, evaluating the risks, and creating measures to reduce or eliminate these risks. The HSE states the following:
As an employer, you’re required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm.
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the minimum you must do is:
- Identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
- Decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
- Take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk
Training and Education:
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act of 1974 requires you to provide whatever information, instruction, training, and supervision is required to ensure your employees’ health and safety at work, to the greatest extent reasonably practicable. Providing proper health and safety in your workplace ensures that your employees understand how to work properly and without putting their health at danger; create a positive health and safety culture in which safe and healthy working becomes second nature to everyone; and meet your legal obligation to protect your employees’ health and safety.
Documentation and Reporting:
Detailed documentation is essential in demonstrating a commitment to safety and can be invaluable in the event of an incident. Reporting accidents and incidents promptly and correctly is another essential aspect of HSE compliance, allowing for the identification of improvement in the workplace.
We have discussed how cleaning can affect our health and safety in the workplace, including how to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, reduce the number of allergens in the workplace, mitigate the risk of chemical exposure, and use eco-friendly alternatives instead, and how to prevent slips and falls in the workplace. Following that, we assisted you in understanding what HSE is, the legal obligations, how to conduct risk assessments, the importance of having trained and educated staff, and the importance of keeping records and reporting accidents.
As a result of this, you will have a better understanding of the health and safety risks in your workplace, as well as how to implement HSE requirements.