The world of Health & Safety can be confusing with various pieces of legislation to not only be aware of but to apply, particularly in the cleaning arena with the use of substances that could potentially cause severe harm. One of these important areas is ‘COSHH’, which is derived from the Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) rather than just the general Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Here are 8 important COSHH aspects to be aware of for any cleaning service and local Birmingham cleaner:
1. Data Sheets – these are basically a summary of what specific substances are being used, right down to what particular supplier provides them. So a bleach from Morrisons may actually be different from a chemical-perspective than say Tesco even though they are similar branding.
2. Risk Assessments – these are familiar with all kinds of Health & Safety and the workplace, with an added obligation to take care assessing not only what substances are used, but what cleaning practices are applied to reduce and manage risks as best as possible.
3. Reporting – there needs to be a nominated person to be in charge and oversee the outworking of the policy, someone who people can report any issues to, and who checks practical things like correct stock and storage. Also, regular reviewing of the process and people.
4. Storage – things must be safely stored with correct signage and locks to ensure that they cannot be mistakenly accessed. This includes additional requirements for more dangerous substances, so maybe an additional high-level locked cabinet for dangerous cleaning chemicals in the normal locked and safe cleaning cupboard.
5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – these are the actual clothes and work wear worn by people, whether special gloves and aprons, or more specialist overalls and shoe-covers.
6. Accidents – to have a clear procedure for recording these in the accident book, and having first-aid facilities available, with a particular emphasis on any special requirements for individual cleaning substances.
7. Rubbish – the correct way and means to dispose of rubbish and refuse, making sure it’s correctly stored and sealed so that separate to ‘normal’ rubbish if needs be, and including the safe disposal of the actual substance containers.
8. Training – ways in which people are correctly trained regarding these requirements, including both initial one-off for newcomers but also ongoing training and updates.
If you’re a provider of cleaning services, then make sure you have an external risk assessor to help correctly set up a COSHH procedure rather than a standard document approach, or if you receive cleaning services then ask your cleaner to provide a copy of this policy and explain how they practically apply it.
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