You must ensure your staff and anyone else who could be affected by your work are kept safe from harm. You must assess the risk from slips and trips and take reasonable precautions. Slips and trips remain the single most common cause of major injury in UK workplaces. The process of cleaning can create slip and trip hazards, especially for those entering the area being cleaned, such as the cleaners. Examples include smooth floors left damp and slippery, trailing wires from a vacuum or buffing machine, which can present a trip hazard. An effective cleaning programme requires a good management system to help you identify problem areas, decide what to do, act on decisions made and check that the steps have been effective.

Good communication is also needed at all levels to ensure messages are effective and the right action is taken, eg between equipment and chemical suppliers to ensure suitability of a product for the type of contaminant and floor. Effective training and supervision is essential to ensure cleaning is undertaken to the correct standard. Cleaners need to be informed of their duties and why the cleaning needs to be undertaken in a particular way or at a particular time. Lack of understanding can lead to inappropriate shortcuts.

• Use the correct amount of the right cleaning product.
• Allow detergents enough time to work on greasy floors.
• Maintain cleaning equipment so it remains effective.
• Use a dry mop or squeegee on wet floors to reduce floor-drying time, but remember, while the floor is damp there is still a slip risk.
• Even using a well-wrung mop will leave a thin film of water, sufficient enough to create a slip risk on a smooth floor.
• Spot clean where possible.

People often slip on floors that have been left wet after cleaning. Stop pedestrian access to smooth wet floors by using barriers, locking doors, or cleaning in sections. Signs and cones only warn of a hazard, they do not prevent people from entering the area. If the spill is not visible, they are usually ignored.
You must assess the risk from slips and trips and take reasonable precautions.

Office cleaning: Health and safety tips from Alpine Facilities Services: Are you concerned about your incumbent contractor? If so, contact us now on: 0845 520 2014.