Our industry carries great weight and responsibility when it comes to the health and safety of others.
Even in the professional cleaning industry, ensuring the health and safety of others encompasses so much more than providing a visibly clean space to work, visit, or go to school. It involves creating a secure environment where the air is safe to breathe and the floors are safe for walking; it involves protecting custodians from work-related injuries; and it involves proper employee vetting to ensure the safety and security of all building occupants.
Wet floors, misuse of cleaning chemicals, lack of training, or even hiring the wrong staff members can invite liability issues from custodians, building occupants, or—in the case of building service contractors (BSCs)—clients. It’s no wonder that respondents to our 2016 In-House/Facility Management Benchmarking Survey ranked health and safety as their No. 1 issue of importance.
In this month’s cover story (Page 16), “Lessening Liability,” author Erin Brereton writes the following: “Unexpected lawsuits, operational issues, and regulatory fines can cause significant damage to an in-house cleaning operation’s budget or a cleaning company’s bottom line.” In addition to warning BSCs and in-house facility managers about the variety of risks that accompany our industry, Brereton’s article also provides a whole gamut of advice, from how to avoid muscle strains on the job to how to prevent cybersecurity and harassment issues.
Although this month’s cover story provides a comprehensive look at how to mitigate risk and promote health and safety, it may also help you establish a formal process for making improvements. For those who need an extra hand in learning how to jumpstart a health and safety agenda, turn to Page 26. This article not only offers tips on how to create health and safety programs from the ground-up, but it also discusses how to gain buy-in on the process from colleagues and supervisors.
Every day, the well-being of building occupants and custodial staff falls into the hands of our readers. This issue of Cleaning and Maintenance Management can help to ensure we are doing our best to protect them and, in the process, our organizations, too.