Health and Safety in the cleaning world

Published on 1 March 2018

In any job, there are risks to health and safety of course usually very small but risks all the same. Cleaning has maybe more so with all the different environments were in and many different cleaning products we have to use form carpet cleaning or oven cleaning, to general house cleaning.

It’s important, as I come from a background of rules and regulations in the QA world – such fun that wasn’t, and I know that mostly they are in place for good reasons, so a check of new places when cleaning for potential hazards is a good idea. This we now call hazard analysis, which is really like so many of these rules just common sense you simply need to look around. I’ve produced a form for this which makes things easier and covers the most obvious and expected hazards. This includes but not limited to, wet floors, stairs, steps, trailing leads across a floor and rubbish left then there are the products we use.

I can assure you though some places are more hazardous than others! Which can mean there’s an accident waiting to happen every step as there can be many items on the floors so it’s almost impossible not to trip up. This is why places need to be ready for cleaning with items tidied away. It’s not just taking out the hazards but we can have more time cleaning the reason why were there in the first place.

Although we know what the usual hazards are, taking a little time to look at the place your in is worthwhile as everywhere is different. It’s not like going into the same old office day in day out, so anyone working with me spends a little time going through the hazard sheet and a look around for any new ones.
Then there are the products we have to use, which in the last week has become quite a concern.

A greater concern though was in an article I came across in a paper last week, can’t remember which paper, stating ‘’Housework is as dangerous as cigarettes’’ what?….A study has been conducted by professor Cecil Svanes of the University of Bergen in Norway, with the help of 6235 men and women. It states women who do regular housework or are employed as ‘cleaners’, causing long-term damage to their lungs. Now that would worry anyone especially, you guessed it if you’re the one doing the cleaning…Apparently, it’s the irritating chemicals in everyday cleaning products which cause the long-term damage, including ammonia, which is the issue. This is a long time but still, it’s something that we should all be aware of. Oddly enough men art at risk as much, one because they did clean as much as women according to the study but also for some reason they are not affected in the same way, which is most odd? But perhaps shows the lack of any real conclusion in this study. Still, the take-home message is cleaning chemicals are very likely to cause long-term substantial damage.

However hold on, we live in a country with very stringent health checks on products and especially those used in the home which has to undergo rigorous testing before a sale to the public. If therefore the study was conclusive and this was the accepted view then surely the various products on sale wouldn’t be on sale and public awareness of these long-term damages would be widespread.

Even so, it’s worth being cautious so I recommend looking at the products your using see what’s in then and possibly avoid the harsher chemicals like ammonia and spray onto the cloth, not the surface you’re cleaning and not too much. I often see people over spraying it just isn’t needed a little will do. It certainly something I’m looking at now in my business.


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