BFM Magazine is partnering with the Contamination Expo Series 2017

BFM Magazine has joined forces with the Contamination Expo Series 2017 as an official partner ahead of the event’s highly anticipated return on the 27th & 28th of September at ExCeL London.

The Contamination Expo Series is simply unique; it’s Europe’s largest event designed to further the protection of the environment and management of contaminated land, water, and air by bringing together the latest solutions, the most innovative suppliers, and the industry’s greatest schedule of seminars led by the world’s most prominent experts.

This standout exhibition regularly attracts partnerships with major players from across the industry. BFM Magazine’s inclusion in the 2017 show only reinforces this reputation further and adds to the growing roster of large organisations choosing this event to showcase their latest offerings and ground-breaking innovations.

Over 3,000 contamination professionals will flood the exhibition hall to engage with over 150 innovative environmental suppliers, 120 CPD-accredited and expert-led seminars, interactive debates, live demonstrations, one-to-one advice from industry experts, unparalleled networking opportunities, and much more.

Guests can filter between areas dedicated to land remediation, hazardous materials, spill response, clean air technology, geotechnical & geoenvironmental, nuclear decommissioning, and more, as well as the Flood Expo and M&CCE Expo next door.

To discover more reasons why this event is unmissable and to book your free ticket, visit the Contamination Expo Series website.

If you’re a supplier and are interested in exhibiting your products or services to the thousands of contamination professionals in attendance, contact Event Director Daniel Rogers on +44 (0)117 990 2005 or Daniel.Rogers@prysmgroup.co.uk.

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Health & Safety North moves to Manchester for its biggest ever conference and exhibition

This year’s Health & Safety North conference and exhibition will take place in Manchester for the first time to accommodate growing attendance numbers over the past decade. The 2017 edition has moved from Bolton to the larger EventCity venue in Manchester, where it is expected to attract 2,000 visitors and 200 exhibitors.

The move to the centrally-located EventCity, the second largest venue outside London, also enables the inaugural Fire Safety North event to run alongside Health & Safety North.

Running from 10 to 11th October 2017, the event, the biggest of its kind in the north of England, is set to attract professionals from across the region for two days of educational seminars, industry debates, networking opportunities and equipment displays.

The main conference programme, curated by the event’s educational partner the British Safety Council, promises invaluable presentations from a line-up of industry leaders. Highlights will include a session on the results of a new Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey and a legal update from legal firm Clyde & Co. Meanwhile, the Safer Logistics Theatre, sponsored by 3M, provides a forum for panel debates on topics including fall protection, hearing and respiratory health.

Leading industry organisations will be represented at the event, including the National Examination Board for Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH), the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF), the Energy Institute and the International Institute of Risk & Safety Management (IIRSM).

Tim Else, event director at Western Business Exhibitions, which organises the event, said: “After 10 excellent years at the Bolton Arena, the growing volume of exhibitors wanting to participate and the growing need to satisfy the educational requirements for the visitors to the event was such that we had to seek a larger venue. By moving to Manchester we have more space to meet that demand.

“There is no other event in the north of England providing this level of education, debate and networking for professionals whose job involves health and safety. With thanks to our partners and sponsors, we’ve put together another great programme and look forward to welcoming the safety and health community to our new home in the North.”

Free registration is now open. To register and view the full educational programme online, visit: www.healthandsafetyevents.co.uk

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Playing with Risk – The Case for Digital Mobile Radio

Research reveals just one-in-five FM managers have ‘full confidence’ in their communication systems when it comes to keeping workers and visitors safe

From ensuring day-to-day operations run like clockwork to making certain that the safety staff and facility visitors are not compromised in the event of an emergency, the strategic priorities that face today’s facility professionals are many and varied.

Top of the list of responsibilities is an ever present need to put in place systems and processes to ensure workers stay safe at all times. And that means being able to depend on reliable two-way communications that make it possible to monitor employee wellbeing as they go about daily tasks – or respond fast to incidents and emergencies.

But, as the findings of a recent survey by innovative two-way radio manufacturer Hytera show, many UK businesses admit to struggling with inadequate systems that make it difficult to guarantee instant communication at all times.

Even more worryingly, one-in-four employees lacked any safety-critical communications at all, while 54% of employees were left working alone in hazardous conditions or remote locations without Lone Worker support.

Mobile phones prove unreliable and costly

Nearly 82% of survey participants confirmed that workers in their organisation were heavily reliant on mobile phones as their primary communication system in the field. Yet many acknowledged this dependency was not best suited to ensuring worker safety.

Poor or unreliable mobile coverage was identified as a primary issue. In the event of an outage, 28% of respondents either had no contingency plan or were reliant on workers somehow finding an alternative signal in order to resume communications. Little wonder that just 21% of all respondents had full confidence in their communications system when it came to assuring worker safety.

Alongside poor mobile coverage, concerns were also raised that mobile phones acted as a potential distraction for workers and also represented an unnecessary additional cost burden to the business.

Worker safety at risk of compromise

The survey findings also highlight how many UK organisations put workers at risk of being unable to instantly alert colleagues should an incident arise.

In the event of an emergency, less than one-third (31%) offered workers Lone Worker alert technology, either within a two-way radio or a separate device. And while under half (42%) of the organisations surveyed had provided workers with analogue or digital two-way radio handsets, in the majority of instances these were primarily being used in a traditional radio-to-radio manner for simple voice communications.

Of those organisations using two-way radios, less than half (43%) said workers were able to take advantage of a dedicated Emergency Button or Priority Communication Channel in the event of an incident, while just 25% were protected by automatic ‘Man Down’ features. Just 22% were using GPS tracking to monitor the movements of personnel to protect them whilst in the field.

These findings indicate that organisations either don’t have the appropriate advanced worker safety functionality within their two-way radios, or are failing to take advantage of the full capabilities on offer.

This was despite the fact that 60% of organisations said that radio users were operating hazardous machinery, 53% were working at height, and 40% were public-facing.

The case for next-generation digital mobile radio (DMR)

Survey participants had workforces that operate in a diverse variety of environments, including remote, noisy or inherently hazardous locations. For some workers, lone working was a standard feature of their day-to-day activities; for others, interaction with members of the public was a regular requirement.

Protecting employees at work was a priority for the organisations surveyed. Yet many appear to be struggling with the challenge of providing staff with reliable coverage across sites or to maintain the continuous information flows required to keep people both productive and safe.

Despite the plethora of communication tools in use, organisations admitted to being fearful they can’t guarantee employees would be able to communicate fast in the event of an incident or emergency. Indeed, only one-in-five businesses claimed to have ‘full confidence’ in their communication systems, and less than a third offer employees dedicated Lone Worker communication features – Man Down, Group Call and Emergency buttons – that would inform colleagues where they are, when they are alone or when they are in trouble.

Today’s advanced DMR radio systems can significantly improve an organisation’s communications capability and responsiveness, delivering real-time location awareness of all users, emergency prioritisation and pre-determined alerts and all important Lone Worker or Man Down functionality that deliver a user’s location with pinpoint GPS accuracy via their handsets. All of which would enable senior facilities professionals to gain greater oversight over health and safety responsibilities.

To view the full research and to find out how Hytera can help you develop a communications system to fulfill your requirements visit hytera.co.uk/potential-of-dmr

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Safety and health professionals can tackle workers’ sun risks

During Sun Awareness Week (8-14 May), businesses can help to raise awareness and prevent cancer caused by solar radiation exposure at work using free materials from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) award-nominated No Time to Lose campaign.

These resources have been developed as part of IOSH’s occupational cancer campaign, which commissioned new research, produced easy-to-use health advice and works with employers and organisations in the UK and worldwide to help prevent cancer caused by the work people do.

Sun Awareness Week is organised annually by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), one of the supporters of the No Time to Lose campaign this year.

It aims to raise awareness of skin cancer, to encourage people to regularly self-examine their skin, and to educate the public about the dangers of sunburn and excessive tanning.

Johnathon Major of the British Association of Dermatologists, said: “Skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the UK and incidence rates are still rising, with outdoor workers being particularly at high risk.

“A concerted effort must be made to make both employers and employees aware of the dangers posed by sun exposure, and to encourage the adoption of responsible preventative measures.

“No Time to Lose aims to do exactly that, and we applaud IOSH’s efforts in making the workplace a sun-safe environment.”

In 2015, research commissioned by IOSH into solar radiation exposure at work in Britain, revealed that each year, malignant melanoma, which is the more serious form of skin cancer, kills nearly 50 people, with 240 new cancer cases being registered.

The study was done by Imperial College London which also found that 42 per cent of malignant melanoma cancer cases involve construction workers. Other key sectors include agriculture, public administration and defence, and land transport.

A second study by The University of Nottingham researched attitudes to sun safety in the construction sector and found that two thirds of construction workers outside for an average of nearly seven hours a day thought they were not at risk or were unsure if they were.

More than half (59 per cent) of those questioned by researchers reported having sunburn – a major contributor to skin cancer – at least once in the last year.

Kate Field, Head of Information and Intelligence at IOSH, said: “We urge businesses to develop ‘sun safety strategies’ that include regular updates on the UV index from weather forecasts, minimising sun exposure in the middle of the day and asking employees to wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting tops and trousers. Using high-factor sunscreen is helpful but should not be relied on as the only barrier to the harmful rays.

“Our No Time to Lose campaign website has free resources businesses can download to raise awareness of solar radiation exposure at work. The pack includes factsheets, posters, pocket cards and more to help inform and engage the work force.”

Since the campaign was launched in November 2014, 100 leading businesses have pledged to prevent occupational cancer. Pledge signatory Royal Mail Group protects its employees from sun exposure by providing protective clothing as part of its uniform and encouraging workers to cover up during the higher ultraviolet radiation (UVR) months.

IOSH has also worked in partnership with campaign supporter Considerate Constructors Scheme to develop a poster to help raise awareness of UVR exposure on construction sites across the UK.

Edward Hardy, Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to support IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign – anything that is done to help raise awareness of occupational cancers and the effective prevention programmes that can be introduced by employers will only improve the wellbeing of all involved.

“The construction industry is a dynamic and evolving sector and we must do all we can, not only to make our working practices ever safer, but also to improve the health and wellbeing of all those who work in our industry.

“We are helping to achieve greater understanding of this issue by raising awareness via the Scheme’s monitoring of thousands of registered sites, companies and suppliers each year, and through the Scheme’s Best Practice Hub – the construction industry’s free to access online platform for sharing best practice.”

To find out more about IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign and to download free resources, visit the website.

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Reducing Time on Compliance

By Louise Hosking MCIEH CMIOSH CMaPS PIEMA SIIRSM

Chartered Safety & Health Practitioner, Director at Hosking Associates Ltd

My top ten tips on how you can save time on compliance.

  1. Have a strong, uncomplicated documentation management system you understand and can easily check. File paperwork/electronic info as soon as it comes in and hold others accountable to do the same
  2. Expect high standards and those around you will too. Make it clear what you expect from others and manage them well. Coach rather than tell.
  3. Talk to contractors about how they will work safely and watch how they work in practice. Use photos and bullet points to agree safe systems rather than reams of generic documentation.
  4. Understand how to manage risk in line with the hierarchy of risk control and use this knowledge when you talk to people. Collaborate. Make strong risk based decisions at the time rather than going back and forth with RAMs.
  5. Prioritise actions, not everything needs to be done today
  6. Create a good team, delegate well, trust your contractors – H&S is a team sport so share the love
  7. Have a good administrator
  8. Use the HSE website if you don’t know something. Its quick to use and most answers are there.
  9. Don’t try to cut corners. Looking for work-arounds might save time now, but it may come back and bite you later
  10. Avoid having accidents by having a clear safety management system which works in practise – not just on paper. Investigations, recriminations and legal action are hugely time consuming
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Are your fire doors safe and legal?

Nick Goddard, Research and Development Manager at Geofire has been in the fire safety industry for over 20 years. Here he talks about the importance of fire doors and the technology available to hold open fire doors safely and legally.

Fire doors are designed to prevent the spread of smoke, flames and toxic gases throughout a building in the event of a fire. However, when a fire door is held open, fire can quickly pass through the building, blocking escape routes and endangering lives.

Legally, a building’s fire doors must therefore be self-closing to ensure the door closes to act as a barrier that stops the fire from spreading.

Due to the level of protection a fire door provides, the placement and weight of the doors is often restrictive for example in a care home setting for residents, or for pupils in a school.

It is recognised that in these cases it is necessary to hold fire doors open for practical reasons. In this instance the fire door must have a device installed to release the door, so that is will close upon activation of the fire alarm system.

Holding open fire doors legally

Making sure fire doors are closed when the fire alarm sounds is extremely important. The British Standard 7273-4:2015 Code of Practice for the operation of fire protection measures – Part 4: actuation of release mechanisms for doors gives guidance on the installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire door holding systems. The system/hardware used to hold the doors open must also be approved to EN1155 standard.

Fire door retainers, also known as fire door holders, use a magnet to hold open heavy fire doors that will release in the event of a fire. Stand-alone door retainers are suitable for doors that already have a closing device fitted, however fire door closers with a built in hold open function are also available.

Depending on the installation and level of protection required, there are a variety of fire door retainers readily available which react to different triggers, in the event of a fire.

Hard wired fire door retainers

Hard wired fire door retainers are used all over the world and are ideal for new buildings as they have a direct wire connection to the building’s fire detection system. In a normal condition, power (usually 24 V dc) is supplied to the door retainers so that they can hold the doors in an open position. When a fire is detected by the fire panel, power is cut releasing the doors so that they can close. A fault in the wiring or power supply to the door retainers will cause them to fail safe and release the doors. Hard-wired fire door retainers are available in many shapes, sizes and finishes to suit all applications.

Radio controlled fire door retainers

Radio controlled fire door retainers are triggered wirelessly by radio waves from a controller connected to the existing fire panel or interface unit. As minimal wiring is needed, these are often used for fitting into large, existing buildings but still offer high levels of protection. These systems are installed by an approved, trained professional as a site survey has to be carried out prior to installation.

Sound activated fire door retainers

Sound activated fire door retainers react to the noise of the fire alarm and some devices can learn the sound of the building’s specific fire alarm, so they will only release when the alarm sounds. This is a cost effective solution as there is no need for wiring to a fire panel.

Sound activated fire door retainers are battery powered and can be installed quickly and easily. They are wire-free, so installing them won’t affect a building’s infrastructure.

Innovators of fire technology

Geofire has been designing and manufacturing electromagnet fire door holders and closers for 45 years from its factory in County Durham. Established in 1972, the company is still continuing to invest in research and development to be able to offer cost effective and innovative fire technology.

Andy Collinson, CEO at Geofire, said: “What makes Geofire stand out from the rest is that we design and manufacture all of our products in the UK, and we are very proud to be able to say that.

“We have a solution available for all installations, whether it is a new build using our hard-wired products, a noisy environment where radio would be more suitable (Salamander) or, where an acoustic solution is required to close the fire doors upon hearing the sound of the fire alarm (Agrippa).”

www.geofire.co.uk Email: enquiries@geofire.co.uk Tel: 01388 770 360

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Lucion and HBI in new commercial partnership for workplace safety services

Photo shows: Left to right – Mike Jamfrey of HBI with Phil Rozier of Lucion

Two leading risk management companies have come together in a new commercial partnership to extend their health and safety services offering.

Lucion Services and Healthy Buildings International (HBI) have announced agreement on a reciprocal arrangement that will see the companies provide support services to each other so that each can better meet the wide ranging occupational safety needs of their customers.

Under the new partnership Lucion will add legionella risk assessment and water monitoring to its existing range of asbestos and hazardous material surveying, analysis and remediation services.

HBI operates UKAS accredited legionella risk assessment and monitoring regimes that will now be available from Lucion to complement the range of hazardous material management activities and support programmes it already provides. In addition, Lucion will also have the ability to link with other HBI services such as assessments for fire risk and indoor air quality.

In return HBI will have access to Lucion’s specialist UKAS accredited laboratory facilities for detailed asbestos sampling and testing services, which includes scanning electron microscopy (SEM). This new capability will further extend HBI’s existing asbestos management support activities that take in surveying, consultancy and training provision.

HBI will also be able to utilise Lucion’s expertise in CDM (Construction Design and Management) consultancy support and guidance to ensure client compliance with the latest safety regulations.

Phil Rozier, Chief Commercial Officer of Lucion Services, said: “We’ve always adapted quickly and have been creative in our approach to supporting clients. The new arrangement with HBI is designed to ensure that both companies can best meet the growing range of specialist health and safety needs of their clients.

“Both companies have shared values and a common approach to providing trusted advice and high quality support. This reciprocal services agreement will mean we can both provide customers with an increasingly holistic approach to risk management and safety compliance.”

The new arrangements are designed to reinforce each company’s provision of comprehensive support to help clients meet safety compliance and risk management challenges.

Mike Jamfrey, Managing Director of HBI, said: “The complementary nature of the activities of the two companies makes this partnership a great fit and will help each of us to deliver more efficient and robust health and safety services.

“The collaboration opens the door for a continuing exchange of ideas and knowledge which can only be positive for both companies – as well as our respective customers.”

HBI has provided UK and European-wide consultancy services since its formation in 1992 and operates from offices in Reading, Wakefield and Honiton.

Lucion was established in 2002 and has grown rapidly to create a group of environmental and occupational safety management companies, with a network of 12 regional offices around the country.

More details at www.lucionservices.com and www.hbi.co.uk

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Drinking Fountains: Dispelling The Myths

Paul Thorn, director of Washware Essentials, specialist supplier of commercial sanitaryware including drinking fountains.

The drinking fountain used to be an everyday fixture in the lives of school children – but now, this convenient source of hydration is slowly being taken away, thanks to completely unfounded concerns about safety. In this article, we’ll dispel some of the myths around water fountains and show how the education sector would benefit from their return.

The importance of water

A recent study surveying UK parents has shown that 60% of schools do not provide access to drinking water throughout the day. According to the same study, an incredible 73% of students have no access to water from a drinking fountain.

This lack of water can cause students to become dehydrated, which in turn causes symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, irritability and disrupted concentration. It is well known that students that drink water during exams get better grades, making it absolutely vital for students to have access to water throughout the day.

MYTH: Water fountains are unsanitary

This is probably the most common misconception when it comes to drinking fountains. In fact, the risk of a water fountain becoming contaminated is minimal, and modern designs place a greater emphasis on health and safety than ever before. The areas of a fountain that are most likely to harbour bacteria are the parts that are touched by hand – but this presents no more of a risk than when a student opens a door to a classroom or touches a hand rail.

With correct maintenance and regular cleaning, stainless steel drinking fountains are extremely safe and can play an important role within our schools. Compared to bottled water, tap water has to meet scrupulous quality standards, and has to be tested on a regular basis.

MYTH: Usage will cause lead poisoning

This misconception stems from an incident in 1986, when lead was leaking into the water system from pipes and fountains, which caused an international crisis.

However, over the past three decades, water fountain manufacturers have updated their designs and no longer use lead components, preventing the risk of contamination and making water fountains completely safe to use. Water is now regularly tested for any contaminants, including lead and pathogens.

MYTH: Not environmentally friendly

Drinking fountains are often associated with leaky pipes and dripping taps, but thanks to modern drinking fountain designs, this is no longer a problem. Regular maintenance will ensure that there is no leaking and current fountain designs have brought water wastage down to an absolute minimum.

Conversely, bottled water takes a massive toll on the environment, with four out of five water bottles ending up in landfill.

MYTH: Hard to maintain

Of course, drinking fountains require regular maintenance, but the checks and cleaning are easy to carry out. Your drinking fountain supplier will give you guidelines on installation, cleaning and maintenance.

MYTH: Fountains are expensive

Stainless steel drinking fountains can cost anywhere between £140 – £555 – but compared to the incredible expense of bottled water, the cost of a drinking fountain is actually extremely low.

The US Environmental Protection Agency states that bottled water is 750-2,700 times more expensive than tap water. Given that schools need to provide a regular supply of drinking water for their students while keeping costs to a minimum, the drinking fountain is the best option all round – especially as sustainable water policies become more stringent.

 

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Fast-growing Health and Safety Event announces largest ever programme of seminars and networking

Challenges and trends come under spotlight at Birmingham NEC, 21-23 March 2017

The impact of the latest sentencing guidelines, Brexit and mental wellbeing campaigns will come under the spotlight at the Health & Safety Event 2017. These key topics and many other important issues will feature in a comprehensive programme of presentations, seminars and workshops for health and safety professionals from all over the UK attending the event, which runs from 21st to 23rd March at Birmingham NEC.

Expanded to incorporate a number of new features, the UK’s fastest growing safety event offers education, insight, information and networking opportunities.

New features of the Health and Safety Event include an exciting partnership with the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF), which has chosen to stage the BSIF Safety Awards at the event for the first time. The BSIF will invite entrants in its Product Innovation Awards to pitch their products to a judging panel in front of a live audience before announcing the winners.

The British Safety Council has curated the main conference programme, which has been designed to support the continuing professional development (CPD) of delegates. Best practice guidance will be shared across key industry topics such as workplace wellbeing, personal resilience, embedding a health and safety culture, mental health and legal compliance, while the impacts of Brexit will also be explored.

Additionally, the event’s Safety Dialogue Theatre, sponsored by 3M and the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), continues to expand its line-up, with seminars covering respiratory hazards, training and competence, hearing, fall protection and the groundbreaking Locher Project, which is aimed at encouraging younger people to champion health and safety issues. A line-up of respected panellists will debate these prominent issues in a series of lively discussions.

The third seminar platform, Safer Logistics, sponsored by A-Safe and Toyota, offers practical advice on safety challenges surrounding warehouse and forklift operations. Another area of discussion will be load integrity on HGVs and vans, and how the police, together with the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency, are being trained to carry out stop and inspect operations. Experts believe this will lead to more inspections and prosecutions going forward. Seminars will be led by both sponsors, as well as industry organisations – the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT), the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) and the Regulatory Body for Workplace Transport Training (RTITB). The BSIF and United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) will also be lending their support.

Meanwhile, the NEBOSH Education Pavillion, managed by the National Examination Board of Safety and Health, serves as a central point providing access to a multitude of training providers. This area of the exhibition, centred around a café, has an ‘Ask The Expert’ feature and will also offer enhanced opportunities for networking.

Introducing the main conference programme, Louise Ward, policy, standards and communications director at the British Safety Council, explained: “What we’ve tried to do is balance this year’s educational programme so that each day delegates get the opportunity to experience a variety of educational presentations, including legal updates, interactive sessions and best practice case studies.”

Co-located with the Maintec, Facilities Management and new Fire Safety Event 2017, the Health and Safety Event 2017 provides coverage of the health and safety issues that really matter to anyone responsible for running a safe and healthy workplace.

Tim Else, events director at Western Business Publishing and Exhibitions, which organises the event, said: “We continue to grow and expand this event. There are a number of new features and partnerships with the most influential organisations in UK health and safety. This year, we are particularly pleased to have established a new partnership with the British Safety Industry Federation, whose innovation awards promise to be a highlight. Other partners including the British Safety Council have developed a fantastic seminar programme that will give attendees unparalleled insight into current trends and developments, while the exhibition floor brings together the very latest technologies, products and services available to support professionals in the industry. It’s an event that people responsible for health and safety cannot afford to miss.”

To register and view the full educational programme online, visit: www.healthandsafetyevents.co.uk

 

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Health and Safety in cleaning

Facilities managers need to be confident that health and safety has been considered for every aspect of the cleaning supply chain, from product selection to the final result, says Jangro Operations Director Joanne Gilliard.

Health and safety must be at the forefront of any facilities manager’s mind when contracting cleaning and maintenance services for a building. Protecting workers and visitors and the wider environment is both a legal and moral obligation, and the responsibility lies with the entire cleaning supply chain.

Safety does not come about by chance, and most accidents happen because action has not been taken to prevent them. The cleaning industry deals with chemicals that could be dangerous if handled inappropriately, as well as other tools and equipment that require proper training to operate. At the same time, cleaning operatives move around a lot on their job, and rely on the safety features of the facility that they are cleaning.

For instance, it’s all very well fitting all cleaning machinery with cable retainers to avoid damage and stretching, and insisting that cleaning operatives use back-pack vacuum cleaners in buildings with carpeted stairs. However if there are no anti-slip nosings on the stairs, then there is still an accident waiting to happen.

There are clear health and safety rules in place, of course, including the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health legislation which deals with exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. But facilities managers who know what best practice looks like from the cleaning industry will be more alert to potential breaches of protocol, and will also be aware of their own responsibilities.

On-site storage

Some contract cleaners will elect to store cleaning products on-site when delivering a cleaning service. This poses an obvious health and safety risk to a facility, and it is vital that a comprehensive risk assessment is performed for every cleaning agent or tool that is going to be stored on site. If possible find a secure, locked place to store them, safely out of the reach of workers or members of the public.

Quality contract cleaners will work together with facilities managers to perform this and other risk assessments. Most chemicals used for cleaning are not dangerous if used properly, and if the operative knows what to do if something goes wrong (such as spillage). But some chemicals need more careful handling than others.

Knowledge of the basic ‘dos and don’ts’ of the cleaning industry will also help facilities managers to identify health and safety breaches. Quality suppliers will provide guidance on dilution rates and encourage responsible usage and dosage control, while mixing products should be a clear red flag – any reputable supplier would tell cleaning operatives never to do this. Mixing products could cause a chemical reaction, even producing hazardous gasses.

Placing cleaning products in unmarked containers is another major mistake to be avoided at all times. The consequences of putting bleach in a water or drink bottle do not bear thinking about. If the worst does happen, it’s important to have contingencies in place in an emergency. Has the facilities manager communicated to the cleaning team where first aiders can be found and how to contact them in the building? Does the cleaning team know where to find your safety data sheet?

Quality control

Only suppliers that can prove tight quality control procedures should be considered by cleaning contractors. Look for companies that comply with recognised quality standards such as BS EN ISO 9001:2000 model for production, installation and servicing, as well as other international safety and quality standards.

By having these stringent standards in place, cleaning product suppliers take the burden off those further down the supply chain and their clients, including contract cleaners and facilities managers, giving them confidence in the products being used. But health and safety is about more than just complying with legislation – continually reviewing, updating and improving systems in place is crucial.

Reputable cleaning companies will also provide the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for cleaning operatives, as well as training – not just at induction, but ongoing throughout their career. The correct training is essential to ensuring that health and safety standards are properly adhered to, and should be accessible and cost-effective – e-learning modules are a highly effective way of providing high quality training to a large audience, for instance.

Jangro is a dynamic force in the cleaning supply industry and is the largest network of independent janitorial distributors in the UK and Ireland. For more information go to www.jangro.net

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