With robust risk assessments, our health and safety culture mitigates risks and protects 3 key groups: staff, clients, and the general public.
The specialist cleaning work that we undertake is often intended to make life healthier and safer. We may be improving air hygiene in an office building, cleaning a spillage in commercial premises, or deploying infection control in a school. And in order to deliver results, we must ensure that we have a robust health and safety culture across all aspects of our work. We must minimise risks for three groups of people: our workers, our clients and their staff, and the general public. We assess risks for each of these groups, and we deploy various mitigations to ensure we’re prepared for the worst. In this blog, we’re going to look more closely at our risk assessment process and the risk mitigants that underpin our health and safety culture.
Risk assessments start by protecting our workers
We take seriously our responsibilities as employers. Of course, we do this to comply with the law. The primary legislation covering occupational health and safety in the UK is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, together with later amendments, as well as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. There is also legislation covering reporting of accidents and incidents at work, under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). It’s essential to have a rigorous policy that codifies your organisation’s policies and procedures around lone working, in line with these regulations.
But it’s also because we know it’s the right thing for us to do. Our staff are our most important assets. This is something that many organisations have recognised even more starkly over the past year. For us, providing personal protective equipment (PPE) is a crucial element underpinning health and safety. We always ensure PPE is appropriate, fits the individual, and is maintained, cleaned, or replaced when needed. And critically, we train our staff in its proper use and confirm that they’re using it properly. For instance, it’s no good just handing out facemasks, without clear instructions on how to safely don and remove them.
Our health and safety culture focuses on clients and their staff
Before every cleaning assignment, we undertake a risk assessment of the work we’ll be doing. As in any risk assessment, we look at two axes of risk: the severity of impact and the likelihood of an event taking place. This is to make sure that we have a minimal impact on our clients’ premises and their workers. For some cleaning assignments, we’ll reduce risks and other impacts by cleaning during a quieter period. Usually, this means a night-time clean, in such situations as janitorial cleaning in schools, or regular cleaning at railway stations.
But for other more intensive cleaning regimes, this may not be an option. We may need to be operating during daylight hours to safeguard our staff and passers-by (for instance, in the case of rope access cleaning). Alternatively, there may not be a quieter period in cases where service is 24/7, such as hospital wards. Or we may be responding to an emergency, where a sudden spillage or incident on a transport network requires a rapid response. That’s when we’ll make sure we work to protect everyone on-site with clear warning signage, safety cordons, and other safety equipment. We’ll work to mitigate every risk.
Protecting the general public and preparing for every eventuality
In many cases, our cleaning staff need to interact with the general public too. Especially in the aftermath of trauma, we certainly don’t want to add to people’s problems. We’ll always work with emergency services that are on site, responding to instructions and focusing on limiting the risks for passers-by. Of course, some incidents may be beyond anyone’s control. That’s why we carry £20 million of relevant insurance cover (including for public indemnity), so that we can be prepared for every eventuality.
To find out more about the REACT Specialist Cleaning health and safety culture, contact one of the team today.
Telephone: 01283 550 503
Post by Shaun D. Doak
Shaun is the CEO of REACT Group plc., a business dedicated to specialist cleaning, hygiene, and decontamination. He is deeply committed to making sure that every one of our company’s clients receives the highest possible level of service. An expert in HVAC and commercial and industrial cleaning methodologies, Shaun has extensive experience in the facilities management and renewable services sector.