Posted / 10th July 2019
Working alone is often an occupational hazard for cleaners. Sometimes, it may not be cost effective or necessary for two or more staff to be in attendance.
When working alone, there are several hazards that one should be aware of. As an employer, it is important to make sure that your staff are protected and know how to work alone in a safe manner.
Here are our tips for working solo, safely:
- Ensure that a thorough risk assessment has been carried out. For example, are there animals in the property? Are you being required to clean at a height? Make sure that all possible scenarios have been considered and planned for. If you’re ever in doubt, do not carry out the task.
- Communicate with your team regularly. Text your employer when you arrive at, or leave, a property. If you encounter any issues on your clean, be sure to communicate them immediately.
- Consider carrying a personal alarm or having a code phrase to use on the phone, should you get into difficulty.
- Carry a personal first aid kit with you all times. If you need to use anything in the first aid kit, be sure to fill out an accident report and refill the kit. You must always inform your employer of any accidents, no matter how minor.
- If you are cleaning a home whilst no one is in, lock yourself in the property. Whilst you are cleaning a bathroom upstairs, you may not be able to hear if someone enters the property downstairs. Also make sure that animals are in a safe area where they will not be hurt or cause potential risk to yourself.
- Do not carry out work at height. If the client asks you to do so, call your employer and arrange for the work to be carried out with two operatives, at another time.
- If you ever feel unsafe in a property – leave and call your employer. Your safety is your employer’s responsibility.
- If you are driving yourself between clients, ensure that your vehicle is in good condition. Consider breakdown assistance and always carry out checks on tyres, lights and oil levels. In colder months, carry a torch and blanket in the boot of the car and remember to de-ice thoroughly before driving.
- Stay hydrated and make sure you’ve had enough to eat. If you are by yourself and you feel unwell, call your employer so they can arrange assistance for you.
- Handle all chemicals with extreme care. Just as you would ordinarily, be extremely cautious when using cleaning chemicals. Wear the appropriate protective clothing and gloves, where necessary.
It might sound extreme to consider such things when working alone. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. As an employer, we value the safety of our staff above all else and would not allow our operatives to feel unsafe.
Whether you are an employer or an employed operative, take your safety seriously and stay up to date with the latest protocols and procedures.