Every good employer recognises their responsibilities when it comes to occupational health and safety. Government regulations make sure of this, but there are other positive spin-offs for employees as well. If cleanliness is next to godliness as the old saying would have us believe, then your office cleaning contractor needs to know what you expect as well.
It doesn’t matter what type of working environment you are involved with, whether it be in an office, factory or a retail showroom, there is one underlying element which underpins good health and safety practices, and that is cleanliness.
Occupational health and safety is all about providing a safe environment for employees to carry out their duties. The spin-off for employers is that there is a reduction in workplace injuries and a corresponding increase in productivity and staff morale.
Although we are talking simple matters of common sense here, it might be worthwhile pointing out some of the salient reasons why cleanliness is a major factor when it comes to providing a safe work area.
- A place for everything and everything in its place, or so the saying goes. One of the first principles of a tidy workplace is to make sure that tools are kept in their place at all times. This alleviates the problem of losing bits and pieces and cluttering up walkways. Work practices which were developed in factories over many decades concluded that it was not only safer to keep everything in its place were not being used, but it also contributed to high rates of efficiency.
- As dirt, dust and grime accumulate bacteria start to breed and this can be catastrophic in any enclosed working space such as an office. Bacterial infections can lead to illness, a major contributor to staff absentee rates so, once again, a clean environment contributes to greater workplace safety.
- Hazardous materials are commonly used in some workplaces, particularly workrooms or factories. The very nature of these products means that they are dangerous to human health and pose a risk unless properly handled. By keeping these products in special containers, and out of the workspace when not being used, risk is minimised and a clean environment is maintained.
- There is a clear connection between hygiene and safety and you only have to look at washroom facilities to gain a better understanding of this. With the ever present danger of bacterial transference between workers, diseases like swine flu can easily spread it hygiene standards are not maintained at a high level. That’s why commercial cleaning contractors should be obliged to meet high standards when it comes to sensitive areas like washrooms.
It has been said many times that businesses have legal obligations when it comes to occupational health and safety issues. There can be severe penalties for breaches of standards and many organisations have had to appoint full-time occupational health and safety officers to ensure compliance.
The benefits however far outweigh the expense involved in implementing these safe work practices and there is no doubt that a clean working environment is part of this process.