Risk management in the cleaning industry

Logic Business Resources

Every employee, regardless of position, has an individual and co-operative responsibility to be uncompromising with regard to health and safety.

Risk management should be incorporated as an integral part of all business initiatives and operations, ensuring all hazards are identified, assessed, controlled, and modified as necessary to maintain safe working activities.

To work safely in the cleaning industry it is important to understand what the following terms mean:

  • Hazard
  • Risk
  • Risk Assessment
  • MSDS
  • Hierarchy of Control
  • Workplace Policies and Procedures
  • Safety Induction & Training
  • Accident & Incident reporting
  • PPE

All employers and employees must take action to minimize the cause of harm to anyone “so far as is reasonably practicable”. This includes employers providing training to minimize any risks associated with the work environment, ensuring the safe use of all equipment and chemicals. Employers and employees must do everything they can to try and predict what may cause injury or harm and take action to prevent incidents.


Anything that might hurt or cause harm to someone.
Example:  Mopping the floor of a busy shopping centre is a hazard as the floor is slippery.

Common Hazards in the Cleaning Industry Include:

  • Chemicals
  • Heat Stress
  • Equipment
  • Slip and Fall
  • Manual Handling
  • Biological
  • Sharps
  • Electrical




The chance of the hazard hurting someone.
Example: Mopping the floor of a closed shopping centre is less of a risk then mopping the floor of a shopping centre at peak hour.

 Risk Assessment

The procedure for assessing the risks involved on a particular site or job. It can be performed by a site walk thorough or may be completed by a site supervisor before commencing work.


Material Safety Data Sheet. It is the law that every chemical supplied and used in the workplace must have a M.S.D.S
The purpose of a M.S.D.S is to show how to safely:

  • Store chemicals
  • Transport chemicals
  • Handle chemicals
  • Dispose of chemicals
  • Clean up spills
  • Apply first aid in an emergency
  • Identify the chemical
  • Contact the manufacturer

 Hierarchy of Control for cleaners

The best way to manage risks and hazards is to use the hierarchy of control.  The hierarchy of control must be followed in the listed order. Elimination should be the first solution sought for the control of any hazards.​

 Workplace Policy & Procedures for cleaners

A document that every employee should be familiar with that discusses the W.H.S policy for all staff, specific to the tasks performed by the business.

The WHS policy should expresses the following commitments to health and safety in the workplace:

  • Abide by all statutory and regulatory obligations as a minimum, and pursue best practice applications beyond these requirements
  • Provide the necessary training for all staff to safely perform their duties
  • Consult with staff, on a regular basis, to identify and control risks
  • Maintain plant and equipment in a safe operating condition
  • Isolate defective or dangerous equipment until fixed
  • Set and monitor WHS improvement objectives and targets

The WHS Policy should be reviewed periodically to ensure it continually reflects legislative requirements and organisational needs

 Safety Induction & Training for cleaners

An introduction when you start a new job, new role or a new work site. The induction covers all of the things you need to know about how to stay safe at work. An employer has duty of care to provide training in all W.H.S matters specific to your work.

The organisation should be committed to continually improving the way business is managed and the way the business encourages staff to develop their skills. Internal and external training should aim to:

  • Nurture a culture that values training and development, so that staff have the opportunity to reach their potential
  • As a result of staff training and development, long service and loyal employees is encouraged
  • Deliver increased value to clients and stakeholders due to more efficient and competent staff.

These objectives can be achieved by:

  • Inducting all personnel and clearly communicating values and expectations
  • Conducting regular performance reviews with staff, to identify training and development needs to meet individual and business objectives
  • Encouraging individuals to train and develop themselves to meet business needs and help realise their personal potential.

 Accident & Incident reporting for cleaners

Accident = An unexpected event that causes injury or illness.
Incident = Any event that could have caused an injury, illness or a near miss.

It is very important to report all incidents and injuries in the workplace; the report should be as detailed as possible with names, dates, locations, causes of incident/accident and any other details available. The purpose of reporting incidents or accidents is to make any changes necessary in the work environment to ensure no one is harmed in the future. These reports will be used to highlight any dangerous work sites, habits or perhaps a gap in the W.H.S policies and training of the organization.

 P.P.E for cleaners

Personal Protective Equipment
Example: Gloves, goggles, aprons, boots, masks

All P.P.E should be correctly used and training should be provided to all cleaners on the correct way to use the equipment. P.P.E should be returned clean and ready to use or disposed of correctly.

 All Cleaning Storerooms must:

  • Be lockable and well ventilated – They should always be left locked when unattended.
  • Contain all necessary documentation including WHS policies, procedures and forms, work orders and all other organizational requirements.
  • An inventory of equipment and consumables should be kept to assist with re-ordering and to monitor usage patterns.
  • M.S.D.S – Should be available to easily access close to where the chemicals are being used. All chemicals should be stored according to the M.S.D.S.
  • Particular attention should be given to isolate all incompatible chemicals.
  • All chemicals should be clearly labelled accurately especially when decanted (put into smaller containers).
  • The label should not be easily damaged by the contents. (These can be ordered free of charge from the supplier)
  • Equipment must be tagged and tested for electrical faults, any faulty equipment should be clearly marked as out of service and if possible removed from the cleaning storage area to another location until serviced and safe to use.
  • Equipment that is colour coded should not be in contact with each other to avoid contamination.
  • All equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and ready for next use before being stored.
  • All waste should be removed from the cleaning storage area. All chemicals and consumables should be used on a first in first out basis.
  • Consumables could refer to anything that can be used up such as, toilet paper, soap disposable clothes etc.
  • P.P.E should be clean and in perfect working order.