You are on page 1of 17

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Cleaning Services Guide

CONTENTS

Introduction ..................................................................................................3
University Safety Law .....................................................................................4
What to do in an emergency............................................................................4
What to do if someone is injured or ill...............................................................5
What to do in the event of a fire ......................................................................6
Floor surfaces ................................................................................................7
Above floor level ............................................................................................7
Hygiene ........................................................................................................8
Electrical Equipment .......................................................................................9
Hazard reporting and reporting faults ...............................................................9
Lifting and handling ...................................................................................... 10
Watch your step! ......................................................................................... 11
Correct use of cleaning chemicals................................................................... 12
Laboratories and hazardous areas .................................................................. 14
Hazard Signs ............................................................................................... 15
Glass and sharps.......................................................................................... 16
Protective clothing and footwear .................................................................... 16
Storage areas .............................................................................................. 16
Additional information .................................................................................. 17

Introduction
You are asked to read this booklet carefully and to follow what it says.
It is always important to remember that you should never
hesitate to ask for advice, especially on safety matters.
As an employer, the University has both a legal and a moral duty to protect
the health and safety of its workers. Because they tend to work out with the
normal working hours, cleaners and other support staff need to be
considered. Staff, and particularly those engaged on scientific technical
work, need to be reminded to leave their laboratories safe in the evening
remembering that the next person to enter it will probably be the cleaner or
security staff. Likewise, cleaners and other support staff need to be aware
of some of the potential risks involved in specialised areas they may need to
enter.
Schools/Services, especially the scientific and technical departments, will
have specialised procedures which must be followed when support staff are
working there. The School/Service should ensure that any potential hazards
are highlighted to any cleaner, maintenance or other staff that are
unfamiliar with that area before entry.

Page 3 of 17

University Safety Law


Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the University is
required to provide adequate information and training relating to the health
and safety of its workers. Part of this duty involves the production of a
Safety Policy which gives a basic outline of the University's plans for health
and safety. In addition there are a number of more specialised books
covering different areas of health and safety.
The University has an obligation to take reasonable care of
your safety whilst you are at work. However, as an
employee, you also have a duty to take reasonable care of
your own safety and a duty not to put other people at risk
by what you do or fail to do.
The law also reminds you that you must cooperate with the University over
matters of health and safety. In addition, you must know that it is an
offence to misuse or interfere with any safety equipment.
Under Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations, the University
is required to ensure that suitable and sufficient risk assessments are
carried out and suitable controls are put in place before any work
commences.
It is important that cleaners read the University Safety Policy as employees
are expected to adhere to the guidance given in the Policy and thereby
contribute to the maintenance of safety and healthy working conditions.

What to do in an emergency
If you require the presence of the Fire & Rescue Service, Police or
an Ambulance telephone the main Security Control Room on
extension 4444 (0131 4554444). When telephoning for
assistance in an emergency, give the following information:1. The location from which you are telephoning
2. The type of emergency and type of assistance required
3. The place where assistance is required

Page 4 of 17

What to do if someone is injured or ill


Find out how you could get into the First Aid room in an emergency.
Remember that you can get medical help at any time by using the
emergency number 4444 (0131 4554444). Many Schools/Services have
trained first aiders who will help you if necessary. Their names and where
they can be found will usually form part of the School/Service emergency
instructions. Find out who these people are now as you will not have time in
an emergency. You can find the names of first aid personnel by dialling 4444
or reception.
Don't move anyone who is seriously injured except under the instruction of a
doctor, first aider or ambulance technician. In cases of electric shock, switch
off the power before touching someone who is still in contact with it. If this
is not possible, use something dry and insulating like a coat or jacket to pull
them away. If breathing has stopped start artificial respiration immediately
if you know how and shout for help.
Reporting accidents or incidents
Following an accident you must fill in an accident report form and send the
coloured copies to the University Health & Safety Team, Sighthill Campus. If
someone has been very badly hurt, the Health & Safety Team should be
informed as soon as possible. Dont forget that all accidents/incidents must
be reported on the University accident/incident forms and sent to the Health
& Safety Team.
First Aid

Contact ext 4444 for assistance


Ensure area is safe before attending to the casualty
Only treat people if you have been trained
Ensure accident form is completed
Notify the Health & Safety Team

Page 5 of 17

What to do in the event of a fire


If you discover a fire operate the nearest alarm call point and leave the
building by the nearest exit.
If a fire alarm sounds while you are working, leave the building at once by
the nearest exit. You must not use the lift. Supervisors should check that all
cleaners who have reported for work are accounted for and report this fact
to the staff member in charge of the evacuation or senior fire officer.
Do not attempt to put out a fire yourself unless you have been trained. Your
own life and safety are much more important than any equipment or
property which might be involved in the fire. If you do decide to tackle the
fire, make sure that you can escape if necessary. Portable fire extinguishers
are not designed to cope with an extensive fire.
It is important that you use the correct appliance for a particular type of fire.
Never use water if you think that electricity is involved.
You must never obstruct portable fire extinguishers in any way with cleaning
equipment. Such an obstruction could delay their use in an emergency.
If ever you find any firefighting equipment missing, please report the fact to
the Cleaning Supervisor who will inform Property & Facilities and the Health
& Safety Team. Do this also if you suspect that fire extinguishers have been
interfered with or the seal broken.
If you have to wedge a fire door open for cleaning purposes, you must
ensure that the wedges are removed and the doors closed before you leave
the area. If you find fire doors wedged open in your area and no one about,
please close the doors.
Make sure that you are not responsible for starting a fire inadvertently.
Smoking is only allowed in external designated smoking areas at
each campus.
If you discover a fire, raise the alarm
If fire small enough and you have been trained fight fire
using the appropriate extinguisher
Leave by nearest exit and go to the nearest assembly point
Await authorisation to re-enter
On hearing the alarm, leave by the nearest available exit
Go to the nearest assembly point
Await authorisation to re-enter

Page 6 of 17

Floor surfaces
A lot of University accidents happen as a result of people slipping and
tripping. If it is part of your job to maintain floor surfaces make sure that
you use the approved products and apply them correctly. Hazard warning
signs must be put out to warn building users of wet or slippery floors.
Ensure that floors are kept as dry as possible.

Above floor level


Never stand on chairs, stools, tables or boxes and be careful not to overreach. If it is part of your job to use steps or ladders, make sure that they
are in good condition and on a firm, stable base. Ladders must always be
securely tied or footed and not used at too steep an angle. All
ladders/steps must be on a register and inspected on a regular basis with
any defects reported and repairs carried out prior to reuse of equipment.

Page 7 of 17

Hygiene
There are two types:
Personal Hygiene
1.

Cleaners are expected to maintain a good standard of personal


cleanliness, i.e. hair, nails and body.

2.

The University supplies uniforms and these should be changed


frequently and must be worn correctly.

Environmental Hygiene
1.

People can transfer infections by bringing them in from the outside


environment.

2.

Alternatively, infections can be taken to the outside environment.

3.

A colour-coding system is in place throughout the University to prevent


cross contamination between areas.
Colour Coding System is as follows: Toilet areas - Pink cloths, pink gloves, red pails, red bucket and mop.
All other areas - Blue cloths, blue gloves, blue pails, blue bucket and
mop.

Body fluid spill kits


Body Spill Kits are provided.
Supervisors Office.

They can be obtained from the Cleaning

The Body Spill Kits are used to remove sickness, blood, faeces. NO body
fluids should be cleaned up unless a Body Spill Kit is used.

Page 8 of 17

Electrical Equipment
All electrical equipment should be kept clean and checked before and after
use, especially cables and plugs.
Faulty equipment should not be used. It should be labelled out of order do not use and taken to a designated area and reported to the Cleaning
Supervisor.
No equipment should be used if not displaying a Portable
Appliance Tested (PAT) label.
No equipment should be used by a cleaner unless they have been fully
trained on it.
When using equipment, safety signs must be displayed, especially if cables
may be a trip hazard. Safety signs to be removed once area is safe.

Hazard reporting and reporting faults


It is the responsibility of all staff within the University to report any potential
hazards or faults in their area.
Among the things to be reported, with particular reference to the Cleaning
Staff are:1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Damaged doors and hinges.


Broken glass.
Worn flooring.
Broken chairs and tables.
Unidentified spillages.
Any leakages.

The above mentioned should be reported to the Cleaning Supervisor.

Page 9 of 17

Lifting and handling


Cleaners and other support staff will frequently be called upon to lift things.
This may seem unimportant but even lifting a bucket from the floor to the
sink may cause strain. In bending, the weight of the upper part of the body
subjects the discs of the spine to considerable stress. If done incorrectly the
discs may be damaged, causing considerable pain.
Before lifting any object, size it up. If it is obviously too heavy or bulky for
one person to handle, get help. An article that exceeds half your own
weight could easily cause you to overbalance. If an object is light in weight
it may still be dangerous to carry if it is so bulky that you can't see where
you are going. It is sensible not to jerk a heavy object even though a little
extra force is added, because it will cause severe strain to the arms, back
and shoulders.
Your Supervisor or Manager will advise on correct lifting techniques and
general back-care. In addition, Manual Handling Courses are available
through the Health and Safety Team.
In short, people carrying out manual handling tasks require to follow and
answer the questions below:
Task what are you required to carry out?
Individual are you able to carry out this task?
Load is the load heavy or bulky, does the load move?
Environment Is it cold, hot, humid, slippery etc.?
Major manual handling tasks will have been assessed and paperwork and
relevant instructions are available through your supervisor.

Page 10 of 17

Watch your step!


Slips, trips and falls are the most common types of accidents experienced by
cleaners and other support staff. Most, if not all, can be prevented by taking
common sense measures.
Good housekeeping is the key to the prevention of slips,
trips and falls at work

1. Never clutter corridors with buckets, mops, cables etc. so that others
could fall over them.
2. Wear footwear that covers the whole foot and is not high heeled.
3. Do not run at your place of work and watch out for machine cables on
the floors, wet surfaces or protruding drawers and other obstacles.
4. When washing polished floors, take extra care yourself when moving
on the wet surface and help others to avoid a fall by using the warning
signs or cone provided. When wet mopping or floor scrubbing, either
ensure that other people cannot enter or, if this is not possible, do the
work on half the area so that people have a dry area to walk on.
5. When using any equipment with a trailing lead, try to keep the cable
running along the wall so that people can pass without stepping over
it.
6. Never work above head height without suitable equipment such as a
step ladder. Ensure the step ladder is placed on a flat even surface
and is the correct height for the job in question. Always have someone
holding the step ladder steady as you do the work. (Ladders must be
inspected prior to use to ensure that they have the relevant rubber
feet; are stable and will not slip; and free from any debris).
7. Information on ladder safety is available on the Health & Safety
Executive (HSE) website (http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height/using-ladders-safely.htm )
or from the Health & Safety Office.
8. Ensure a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is provided and that
you read, understand and follow it.

Page 11 of 17

Correct use of cleaning chemicals


Part of your work may involve using cleaning agents. These
are dangerous chemicals and must always be handled with
care. You must always read the instructions and dilute the
cleaning agents correctly, using dosing equipment provided and
as instructed. Current COSHH assessments should be available
to ensure suitable and sufficient control measures are in place.
1.

Always check to ensure that you are using the correct product and
never use a material that you are not sure about. Falls on slippery
floors, burns and fires can be caused by the improper use of cleaning
materials.

2.

Store them in a safe manner when not in use. Only decant into properly
labelled spray bottles. Never keep cleaning agents in lemonade bottles
or other food containers.

3.

Mixing different cleaning agents is dangerous. For instance, mixing


bleach and an acid such as a toilet cleaner can produce a dangerous
gas called Chlorine. It causes burns and can also seriously damage
the lungs.

4.

Some disinfectants and cleaning agents give off nasty fumes, so it is


important that when using them you properly ventilate the room
where you are working. You should wear rubber gloves and liners when
handling many of these products otherwise you may develop dermatitis.

5.

Do not smoke when you are using them. Remember to wash your
hands prior to eating and drinking. Please remember that smoking
is only permissible in the external designated Smoking Areas at
each campus.

6.

Some cleaning agents are in aerosol form. Again you must always
follow the manufacturer's instructions. In particular never use them
near a fire or naked flame otherwise they may explode or burst into
flames. Furthermore, they should be kept away from heat sources
including sunlight.

7.

Cleaning cupboards should be kept tidy, reducing the potential for them
to become a hazard.

8.

Finally, if you feel sick or drowsy after using any cleaning agent, tell
your supervisor.

Page 12 of 17

Corrosive strong acids and bases are extremely


poisonous, corrosive, and cause severe burns

Toxic, Very Toxic this is poisonous

Poisonous to the environment

Harmful if you come into contact with it

If you come into contact with this it can cause an allergic


response and irritation to the area of the body exposed

Flammability is defined as how easily something will burn


or ignite, causing fire or combustion

Caution this is accompanied with another sign or text to


tell you what the hazard is

Danger of electrocution keep out of area where live


electricity is present

Page 13 of 17

Laboratories and hazardous areas


In general, cleaning should be restricted to floors, waste bins and clear
bench tops. Waste bins should be tipped out rather than emptied by hand. If
you find a spillage, do not assume it is safe to mop up. Many nasty
chemicals can look like water.
Always seek advice from a competent person in the School
concerned if you are unsure about anything or need
something moving
You will find that in various University Schools, particularly the larger
scientific schools, there are certain areas which are designated as being
particularly hazardous. These include radiation hazards, biological hazards,
lasers and laboratories where particularly toxic materials or high voltage
electrical equipment are used. You must not enter these areas unless you
have been told by your supervisor that it is safe for you to do so and the
specific hazards have been assessed.
In most laboratories/workshops you will find rooms have a series of signs on
the door. These signs usually indicate that the room contains equipment, or
that the people who work there do experiments which are dangerous in a
special way, and so a sign is put on the door to warn of the special nature of
this hazard.

Page 14 of 17

Hazard Signs
Ionising Radiation radiation sources contained within
this area. Do not remove covers.

Biological hazards, also known as biohazards, refer to


biological substances that pose a threat to the health of
living organisms, primarily that of humans. This can
include medical waste or samples of a microorganism,
virus or toxin (from a biological source) that can impact
human health. It can also include substances harmful to
animals. The term and its associated symbol are
generally used as a warning, so that those potentially
exposed to the substances will know to take precautions.
Lasers keep away from the equipment and do not open
any items with these labels attached. Can cause
permanent damage to the eyes and skin.

The following general precautions should be followed by cleaning staff


working in University laboratories:1.

Do not touch or move any equipment in the laboratory without


permission and do not dust any surface that is not completely clear.

2.

Do not wipe up any spillage until it has been reported as being safe for
you to do so by someone in charge. If you should accidentally break a
flask or bottle or similar container or any equipment in the laboratory,
do not attempt to clean it up but report the mishap to your Supervisor
who in turn will inform the School area. It follows on from this that you
should not touch chemicals, reagent bottles, gas cylinders etc. without
permission.

3.

Be very careful when emptying waste bins. It is the duty of laboratory


personnel to ensure that the waste is safe to dispose of but not
everyone is as careful about this as they should be and they sometimes
put broken glass, metal cans in which chemicals have been delivered,
or even hypodermic needles into waste bins. This is very dangerous and
you should tell your Supervisor if you find this happening.

Page 15 of 17

4.

Do not handle laboratory waste without adequate protection. As a


minimum, a protective coat and strong rubber gloves are necessary. If
you are in any doubt, check with the Cleaning Supervisor who will
consult the Chief Technician.

5.

Personal belongings such as handbags, shopping bags etc. should not


be brought into laboratory areas. The consumption of food and drink
including sweets is forbidden in laboratories as is the application of
cosmetics. Eating in these areas or where you have possibly come into
contact with chemicals can be dangerous.
- Do not touch chemicals or surfaces that have equipment on them.
- If you spill something report it to your supervisor.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after being in these lab areas.

Glass and sharps


Most laboratory areas will have glass bins and these must be emptied by
authorised people, wearing protective gloves, directly into an appropriate
container for disposal. In office areas broken glass or sharps should be
placed next to the waste bin. It should then be wrapped carefully before
placing it in the skip. Normal waste bins should never contain glass or
sharps but occasionally it may happen accidentally. Always carry black
waste sacks away from your legs and body to prevent injury.

Protective clothing and footwear


Always wear any protective clothing, such as overalls, safety glasses or
gloves if they have been provided for you. If your job is not one which
requires safety shoes, try to wear well-fitting, enclosed shoes with a good
grip and a broad heel for work.

Storage areas
Keep storage areas clean and tidy, free from rubbish and secured when not
in use. Apart from making it easier to find things, it reduces the risk of fire
and other accidents. Corridors and staircases provide safe circulation areas
and means of escape from a building. They must never be used for storage,
however temporary. Take care not to obstruct fire exits, notices or
firefighting equipment.

Page 16 of 17

Additional information
This guide has been produced to help you keep safe whilst you are at work.
If you have any doubts or worries about safety matters, consult your line
manager. If they are unable to help you then contact the Health & Safety
Team for advice.
There are bound to be areas and problems which this booklet has not
covered but it should serve as a guide as to how you should carry out your
duties safely. If you feel that there are topics which need to be covered in a
booklet of this sort, please discuss it with your Supervisor who in turn will
inform the University Health & Safety Team. A free and honest flow of
information at all levels is of paramount importance in ensuring a safe
working environment for everyone in the University.
More information is available:
University Health & Safety website:
http://staff.napier.ac.uk/has
Health & Safety Executive website:
www.hse.gov.uk/cleaning/

Page 17 of 17