It is imperative that all issues relating to health and safety are tackled in a practical way and achieve the objective of ensuring that all those involved in the cleaning of a building make a positive contribution to the overall safety of it.
This is the first in a series of Blogs on Health & Safety that I am about to release. Much of the information comes from material produced by the Jangro Group and is aimed primarily at Cleaning Contractors.
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There is always a danger when considering health and safety in the workplace in underestimating its importance and overestimating the amount of work required to put adequate safety systems in place. As a result, the message that needs to be conveyed often gets lost.
Many people do not realise that if they do not pay due attention to safety in the course of their work or cause injury or infection to someone else, they are personally responsible and may face prosecution.
Similarly, organisations that fail to take adequate steps to ensure their own employees observe all relevant procedures can also be liable to prosecution. In short, good health and safety practice starts with the operative, but that the operative relies on effective support from informed managers and supervisors.
However, before you consider the legal responsibilities of employers and employees, it would be a good idea to look at how you can create a positive attitude towards health and safety throughout the workforce. The best way of achieving this is by developing your own best practice procedures with your workforce which, in turn, will lead to a safer environment for all users of the building.
Many of your customers will have highly developed health and safety systems in place for their own staff. Although some of these procedures can apply to your staff, there are specific issues that will need to be addressed to enable you to demonstrate that you have assessed their individual needs. For instance, many cleaners clean buildings outside normal office hours and as such will need to know what to do in certain circumstances i.e. fire evacuation; first aid etc. when normal procedures cannot be applied. This obvious gap needs to be plugged in a practical and workable way.
I hope to provide you with enough information to develop such safe systems of work and should go some way in helping you improve safety within your own workplace.
Compliance with the Law
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is considered to be the single, most important piece of government legislation relating to safety that has passed through parliament. It came into force on 1st April 1975 and provided a new standard for the management of health and safety within the workplace. However, it did not replace any of the acts of parliament that dealt with safety at the time, it merely complimented them.
The main objectives of the Health and Safety at Work Act can be summarised as follows:
To improve the health, safety and welfare of all people at work and
To make all people at work more aware of the issues that affect health and safety
In part two of this Blog I will deal with; Enforcement of the Act and Penalties for Non-Compliance
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