Housekeeping is essential to protecting the health and safety of employees and customers. Safe housekeeping practises can prevent injuries such as trips and falls; in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, housekeeping's role in limiting the spread of communicable diseases is also more clear than ever.
No matter how long your business has been around, it's always a good idea to assess your housekeeping policies and determine what you can do to better protect your customers and staff. Consider these seven safety tips to improve housekeeping at your organisation:
1. Clean up spills immediately
Spills can be very dangerous. According to Safe Work Australia, 23% of serious workplace injury claims are a result of a slip or fall. The faster spills are cleaned up, the less likely someone is to get injured in an accident. Slip-resistant spill pads can quickly cover spills and alert people to stay away from the area until the spill can be removed.
2. Keep pathways and stairways clear
Anything that blocks a walkway is a potential safety risk. Unless items have a specific reason to be near a walking path, they should be removed immediately. A zero-tolerance policy for walkway obstructions will reduce the potential for slips, trips and falls. Housekeeping staff should be trained to spot and remove obstructing items, even when they are performing their regular cleaning tasks.
3. Look for fire hazards
Housekeeping staff are responsible for chemical products that could become hazardous if stored improperly. For example, if fumes build up within a storage closet, they could be noxious or even start a fire. Cleaning staff should be trained to recognise and remedy fire hazards. For example, staff should know to store flammable materials away from possible sources of ignition.
4. Use personal protective equipment (PPE)
Cleaning staff should wear PPE whenever there is a risk to their personal health. For example, staff should wear protective eyewear when dusting surfaces above eye level.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have adopted new deep cleaning procedures to eliminate pathogens that cause communicable diseases. Cleaning staff may need to wear masks and gloves when handling chemical cleaning solutions.
5. Keep light fixtures clean
Dirty lighting fixtures can limit visibility and increase the risk of slip and fall injuries. Housekeepers should dust lights regularly to keep them clean. Consider using microfibre dusting tools to prevent dust particles from reducing air quality after cleaning. Microfibre dusting mitts are the perfect solution for getting to hard-to-reach surfaces.
6. Replace damaged cleaning tools
Old and broken cleaning tools can be a safety risk. For example, a broken mop could cause ergonomic problems. Housekeeping staff should have durable, commercial-grade cleaning supplies to support their work. Compared with consumer cleaning products, commercial tools are designed for intense, daily use.
7. Develop sanitisation procedures
Reducing touch points between staff and customers is key to limiting the spread of germs. Strong sanitisation policies keep everyone safe, even benefiting the health and safety of the broader community. Working with a local health agency can show you where your current procedures fall short.
When housekeeping staff follow safety best practises, everyone wins. For more information about how to improve cleaning tasks at your business, check out our resource centre today.