Safety in today''s world can never be optional.
Employees are required by OSHA to be protected in all aspects of their jobs.
There are mandates for Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) placement, training and awareness.
Not only are safety requirements the right thing to do, they are also marketable to your customers.
It is a great way to show that the company cares about the safety of employees.
Make a change
Many companies in the marketplace do not place the correct emphasis on safety.
They fail to use and display proper labeling, fail to correct electrical hazards promptly, and are not as well-versed as they should be in slip-and-fall issues.
Often, the company has proper requirements and procedures, but the training program does not emphasize the importance of proper reporting, or employees fail to understand the severe consequences of compliance failures.
A safety culture needs to be built in every cleaning company.
Safety culture starts at the top with policy language that does not compromise on any regulations.
A safe attitude must permeate every aspect of company policies.
Programs need to be implemented, training needs to be focused, and follow-up programs of monitoring safe work environments need to be required by company leaders.
A program should be written or part of a company document given to all employees upon hiring.
Safety gear training — including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) — should be a part of all employment activity.
Once the safety culture is dominant in your company, it becomes a retention tool for all staff.
The employee impact
Employees enjoy acting safely, and, even though they may feel uncomfortable speaking up when unsafe activities take place, they should be reassured that communication is encouraged, sometimes even required.
Avoidable workplace accidents — major or minor — cause employees to rethink their roles in the company, or at least contemplate how the company perceives their contributions.
A strong culture of safety with an emphasis on proactive approaches to the many hazards workers face is a foundation to build a strong, resourceful company.
When employees feel safe, they transfer their feelings into attitudes that will be more productive.
They will also find and implement strategies that will cause the customers to feel that they are being treated more professionally.
How many times have unmotivated workers with poor attitudes or training caused us to lose accounts that took years to build?
Safety training is a key strategy toward moving employees to a powerful place where professional credentials are viewed as a normal part of being in the cleaning industry.
Now, imagine taking that wonderful group of employees out into the field, working with customers in a safe, professional manner.
How about sales professionals using your company safety training program as a sales asset?
Customers sometimes wonder how companies can perform proper cleaning for such low costs.
I am sure we understand how those companies do that.
They simply do not train, do not implement safety strategies, and many times do not insure themselves.
It is not proper to point that out, but nothing is stopping us from showing customers how we handle our business when it comes to safety, training and insurance packages.
Have a copy of employee safety programs and the training dedicated to these programs handy.
Show customers what a "proactive" company looks like.
Introduce professional employee certifications or industry recognized training certificates.
Show customers what a motivated, happy staff can do for the cleaning functions in their buildings.
They will stop wondering why your company may be more expensive.
They will suddenly understand.
Dane Gregory is a business consultant and trainer specializing in working with companies in the professional cleaning industry. He currently trains technicians in the use of cleaning protocols for stone, tile and masonry surfaces for IICRC Certification. He also presents a business opportunity for newcomers in the cleaning industry in the care of ceramic tile, stone and grout, with a full equipment and training package. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, where you will find a safety program template that can be purchased or contacted at www.tilecarebusiness.com.