Archive for the ‘ Cleaning accreditations ’ Category

OH&S requirements for commercial cleaning sites

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Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

These days most commercial cleaning work is serviced by contractors. A flow-on effect of this is the rise in workers compensation premiums from 2.67% to 10.52%. This notable increase has resulted in greater emphasis being placed on OH&S requirements to ensure that contract cleaning is carried out in the safest possible way.

The process should begin during the planning stage. Both the client and the contracted cleaning company have a responsibility to each other to clearly demonstrate their respective commitments to specific health and safety requirements.

 

Two sides of the story

Generally speaking, one of the main tenets of the contractual agreement from the property owner’s/manager’s side is the guarantee of a safe working environment for the cleaning contractors. This includes under normal day-to-day duties, but also heavily applies to post-hazardous situations, ensuring that work can and will only resume after an area has been deemed safe again.

Cleaning contractors are required to demonstrate that they possess the below systems which property owners/managers generally now regard as an absolute minimum:

  • Compliance with Health and Safety legislative requirements
  • OHS managements systems
  • Compliance with workers comp. and injury management requirements
  • Risk Management systems
  • OHS Incident notification
  • OHS Performance reporting
  • Property Specific Safety Management Plan

 

The above accreditations need to be proven before cleaning equipment has even been touched. Despite common misconception – commercial cleaning is inaccurately reflected by an individual in overalls boasting a sub-standard vacuum cleaner. This industry has become a science, and credible cleaning contractors provide safe and structured services.

To maintain a certain level of standard; cleaning contractors need to provide their staff with career development and ongoing training. Whether the individual executing the cleaning services or overseeing them – being able to identify issues before they become problems is becoming a necessity.

Supervisors and managers are now more commonly able to identify potential hazards and risks without the necessity to engage OHS consultants. This means immediacy in developing real solutions to avoid the avoidable, as well as cost savings for clients.

Who are the ‘peak bodies’ in the Australian cleaning industry?

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Thursday, October 11th, 2012

‘Peak’ bodies are associations that have been set up to govern and guide companies within their industries. They are authoritative and respected organisations that have been set up with the purpose of representing the industry. They are usually member-based, and companies choose to join them because of the benefits and services they offer. While the specific roles of peak bodies may vary between industries, they all share the following responsibilities:

  • maintain industry standards
  • address any issues and complaints of the industry
  • speak and act on behalf of members when lobbying the government
  • promote the interests of members
  • keep members up to date with the latest news
  • alert members of any policies and changes that may affect their businesses and livelihoods

While these organisations do overlook many aspects of the industry, their key role is to represent the industry. A major part of this is providing a strong, unified voice for their members. They also make themselves available to deal with any concerns raised by members.

Below are some of the peak bodies that we frequently encounter in our work as commercial cleaners. They represent different areas and sectors of the industry, which explains why there are quite a few of them.

ACCORD Australasia – ACCORD is the national association for the consumer, cosmetic, hygiene, and specialty products industry. Many cleaning companies that offer washroom and ancillary services hold memberships with ACCORD.

Australian Cleaning Contractors’ Alliance – This Sydney-based association assists medium to smaller-sized contracting firms across the country. They openly acknowledge that the industry is competitive, and that sustainability is a challenge.

Building Service Contractors Association of Australia – The BSCAA is the peak body for the building services industry. Their members include contractors working in cleaning, security, facilities management, and grounds maintenance.

Cleaning & Hygiene Council of Australia – This not-for-profit association is establishing itself to become the peak body in the cleaning and hygiene industry.

National Cleaning Suppliers’ Association – This organisation represents manufacturers and suppliers, as well as their distributors and dealers. The NCSA has a national reach.

Property Council of Australia – The PCA is the representative body for Australia’s property industry. They have property-oriented members such as investors and developers, but they also represent a range of professional services and trades.

Specialised Cleaning & Restoration Industry Association – This independent organisation represents the interests of commercial carpet cleaners as well as professionals involved in fire and water damage restoration.

 

These peak bodies are instrumental in ensuring the various sectors of the cleaning industry are efficient, sustainable, and profitable. Currently, Broadlex is a member of the BSCAA and the PCA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to look for when hiring a commercial cleaning company

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Thursday, October 11th, 2012

In Australia alone, there are a huge number of commercial cleaning companies competing for tender opportunities. With so many to choose from, it can be really difficult to decide which one will most effectively service your cleaning needs. In this post, we’ve outlined the key things to consider before hiring a commercial cleaning service. It’s a good idea to do your research and cover all of these things in the initial planning stages. That way, you can be assured that you won’t need to think about cleaning until the contract is up for renewal.

Legal frameworks

If a commercial cleaning company is reputable, they will abide by the industry’s legal frameworks and recommendations. The first one is insurance. Before hiring a cleaning service, check that they are insured. This is for your own security: if there are any accidents or breakages while they are on your site, they will be liable for the damages. The best companies will have a written policy regarding insurance, and they should have no problem with letting you read over it. Alternatively, you can verify their policy through the insurance company named on their website. The second thing to check is the company’s license. Every cleaning service should have a license that grants them permission to operate in commercial spaces. Finally, check the company’s accreditations. It’s standard for cleaning companies to be certified in Quality Assurance, Risk Management, and OH&S Systems.

Service offer

Before hiring a cleaning company, you should be clear on the types of services they offer. Make sure that you get a quote and agree to the scope of work before you sign the contract, and commence work. In addition, you should familiarise yourself with the company’s pricing. Their prices should be fair and relative to the work involved. While affordability is a major factor, just know that sometimes, low prices mean a lower standard of work. Ask yourself these questions: Is the price realistic for the amount of work? Does the price fit with your budget?

Reputation

At one level, a company’s accreditations speak to their credibility. However, it’s also useful to find out how the company is viewed by other clients. By doing this, you will gain an insight into the more ‘personal’ side of the company, rather than just the technical angle. If you would like to know a little more about the company’s reputation, try calling some of their referrals. These clients should be able to confirm whether the company is honest, trustworthy, and reputable. They will let you know if the quality of work is high and consistent, and how long they held the contract with that company (which speaks volumes). Finally, consider how long the professional cleaning company has been in business. This not only conveys their experience and expertise, but it also speaks to their business savvy and resilience.

Employees

Before hiring a cleaning service, it’s important to find out a bit of information about their employees. The two key areas to explore are prescreening and training. Firstly, does the company prescreen their employees? Do they call their references or run background and police checks? You are trusting cleaning staff in your working space, often after hours, so security is a major consideration. Secondly, does the company train their employees? The best commercial cleaning companies will have formal training programs that they require their staff to participate in.


 

Why accreditations matter in the cleaning industry

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Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Cleaning accreditations are all about defining and recognising quality, safety, and excellence. Accreditation schemes detail the skills, knowledge, and code of conduct required by commercial cleaning services. These accreditations are like qualifications, and they instill confidence in the client when they are searching for a new commercial cleaning contract. For cleaning companies and staff, accreditations are treated as professional achievements.
Standards
Most importantly, accreditation schemes establish the high standards that cleaners should work towards. By setting standards in this way, commercial cleaning companies are aware of the expectations placed on them, and the quality of work they should aim to achieve. These standards also benefit clients, as they can be assured that their accredited cleaners will act professionally and lawfully. While the names of accreditation schemes do vary, some of the most common and vital ones include Occupational Health and Safety, Environmental Management, and Quality Assurance.
Credibility
Certification relates to credibility, and as such, accreditations contribute to a company’s reputation. They also attest to the cleaning provider’s resources, capability, and skill set. On a more implicit level, they promote the company’s trustworthiness, integrity, and ability to comply with the law. Commercial cleaning companies have to prove their eligibility for certification. The process to become accredited isn’t always easy, so every client should rest easy knowing that such certifications need to be earned.
Third party involvement
Accreditations are assessed by international, national, and private certifiers. The involvement of these types of third parties is important for cleaners and clients. Clients have the knowledge and peace of mind that their cleaners are overseen by a strict board. Furthermore, they know that they can confidently contact a third party if any issues or problems arise.

Development
From a Sydney commercial cleaner’s perspective, being involved in an accreditation scheme is invaluable. If they can maintain an accreditation, a commercial cleaning company will be conveniently updated on new techniques, legislation, and initiatives, thus keeping them at the forefront of their industry.
A breakdown of Broadlex’s accreditations
• Broadlex has a certified Quality Assurance program in accordance with AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008. Basically, this means that the quality of our work has been recognised as being consistently high. It is set to ensure business performance as well as client confidence.
• Broadlex has an accredited Work, Health and Safety Management System (WHS) in compliance with AS/NZS 4801-2001 and an Occupational Health & Safety System (OH&S) as certified by Global-Mark. These accreditations mean that we continue to provide safe working environments, equipment, and materials, as well as appropriate training.
• Broadlex also has a certified Environmental Management System. We manage our business in such a way as to protect our staff and the public as well as avoid any adverse effects on the environment. As well as complying with the government systems, Broadlex is also an active member of the Green Building Council of Australia.
• Finally, Broadlex conducts risk assessments and manages risks in accordance with AS/NZS 4360:2004. Because we work in commercial areas that are used by the public, it is vital that risks are identified and controlled.