Is Your Workplace Housekeeping up to Standard?
This post is part of the “Focus on Health and Safety Audit Questions” series. A series which focuses on questions asked by our health and safety consultants when conducting a health and safety audit.
These tests are carried out as part of the “First Aid and Accident Prevention” section of the health and audit.
Check that a cleaning schedule is in place which records dates and times when the housekeeping team have checked public areas.
Reason for This Test
This will assist in defending slips, trips and falls claims particularly for claims of falls on wet floors or spillages.
Red: No cleaning schedule in place
Amber: Cleaning schedule in place for limited areas only
Green: Cleaning schedule in place for all relevant areas and toilets.
- No evidence of cleaning schedules provided.
- No documented system in place at the time.
57% of businesses failed this question based on our sample data.
When questioned a relevant team member can describe the procedure for dealing with spillages or sharps.
Reason for This Test
Appropriate arrangements must be in place with housekeeping to deal with this type of incident.
Red: Member of staff does not know what to do
Green: Member of staff correctly advises of procedure
- No standard Standard operating procedure (SOP) for Breakages and Spillages.
- No evidence of training provided.
- No Sharps boxes on site.
33% of businesses failed this question based on our sample data.
Example Guidance for a Housekeeping Department
This is an example of what can be included in your health and safety manual.
Team members will perform their duties more effectively if their own working environment is of the standard expected by guests. A well organised and trained team will also help to reduce the likelihood of accidents or ill health and maintain a low risk working environment.
Many other specific sections in your manual will apply to tasks carried out e.g. manual handling, slips & trips, CoSHH, fire etc.
All team members must ensure that the controls detailed are followed in practice. An outline of the controls that will apply in duties carried out by the housekeeping team are set out in this section.
Porters are referred to as team members within this section.
Risk Assessments, Forms and Checklists
Any applicable risk assessments, forms and checklists should be listed.
Many other specific sections in this manual will apply in the housekeeping department e.g. manual handling, electricity, fire etc.
The Manager and all team members must ensure that the controls detailed in those sections are followed in practice.
An outline of the additional controls that are specific and will apply in front of house areas is set out below:
Use of shelving
- Do not overload shelving. Place heavier items at waist level if possible, for easier lifting.
- Free standing shelving will be securely fixed to the wall to prevent it tipping over.
Reaching high level items and high level cleaning
- Do not use unstable equipment or structures as a means of reaching higher levels, e.g. standing on the edge of the bath to clean tiles at a high level. Make use of kick stools and steps where these are available.
- Do not over reach to the side when reaching at height, step down and move whatever steps/stools are being used to gain height
- Follow manual handling guidance and training
- Seek help in moving any item you cannot comfortably handle alone.
- Always ensure that you have a secure footing
- Apply hands to the bed at a height between the shoulder and waist and push using the leg muscles to exert force.
- Or push with back against the bed using the leg muscles to exert force.
Handling clean and used linen
- Place dirty linen into linen skips or drag bags.
- Push the linen skip or drag the full bag to the linen chute where provided. Open the door to the chute and push the used laundry down.
- Where there is no chute push the skip or drag the bag to the lift.
- Take extra care where there are steps to negotiate. Use ramps where necessary otherwise two people to lift.
- Housekeeping trolleys must be kept on every floor but not on the corridors when not in use.
- Always push trolley in direction of travel.
- Ensure vision over trolley is not obstructed and the route is clear.
- Report any defects such as wonky wheels etc. immediately.
- Always check the condition of plugs flexes and sockets on electrical. Damage may include:
- Worn cables through which inner conductors can be seen.
- Cables pulling out of plugs, or cable only held in a plug by gripping inner wires.
- Broken plugs or sockets
- Cracked casings to equipment.
- Any equipment that is damaged must be taken out of use and labelled ‘do not use’. The damage must be reported to the Restaurant Manager and the equipment kept isolated until it is either repaired or disposed of.
- Do not allow electrical leads on vacuum cleaners etc. to trail across walkways or get caught in doors. Avoid excessive use of extension cables – unplug the equipment and find a socket nearer to the work area.
Windows and balconies
- There have been a number of recent high profile court cases where companies have been prosecuted when guests have either accidentally fallen.
- Windows fitted with large top hinged windows fitted with a device (to stop them opening to their full width accidentally and without adjustment) should be periodically checked to ensure that these have not been damaged to prevent accidental falls from windows.
- Windows which are fully open must be returned to be within the window restrictor.
Health and safety manuals including housekeeping risk assessments, forms and SOP are available as part of our Health and Safety Management System packages and can be stored and accessed via our PYRAMID™ Online Risk Management System. Please contact us to discuss your requirements or for further information.