Home' Inclean NZ : INCLEAN NZ May 2018 Contents 14 INCLEANNZ May 2018
Proper staff training is vital for
cleaning companies that wish to
employ sustainable practices,
writes Environmental Choice
New Zealand’s general manager
Commercial, institutional and residential property cleaning is an
essential service in New Zealand, protecting the health of building
occupants and providing a pleasant living and working environment.
But the processes involved do potentially bring risks to cleaning
employees, building occupants and to the environment. If cleaning
services providers do wish to act responsibly and employ sustainable
practices, proper training of their staff is critical.
It’s important cleaning companies have a staff training plan and
maintain a training record for each staff member to ensure the right
training is completed before staff begin working independently.
Cleaning chemicals pose the most immediate risks both to people
and environment as they can be harmful to the skin and emit volatile
organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause respiratory problems, as
well as affect water quality if not disposed of properly.
Cleaning companies can make a big difference to the environment
by careful selection of cleaning products, consumables and energy-
efficient equipment. They can also make an impact through the
cleaning techniques they use – such as employing microfibre cloths to
reduce chemical use.
But that calls for staff to be thoroughly committed to these practices
and that can only come from good training and emphasis on the
importance of doing things right. Cleaning processes also generate or
accumulate wastes that have to be managed properly. It’s vital cleaning
staff are well trained in waste management and minimisation, and
minimisation of fuel consumption through, for example, route
planning and driver training.
The very nature of the cleaning industry poses challenges for
training. It is an industry that employs many new migrants for whom
English may not be their first language – and staff turnover is also
high. As a consequence, training must take into account factors like
limited English proficiency.
That’s particularly critical in the area of chemical handling, so we
recommend instructions on dilution, use, and disposal of chemicals
to be in easily understandable language with guiding illustrations
where possible. The same goes for instructions on rinsing containers,
returning them for refilling, recycling or disposing of them.
Environmental Choice New Zealand has a criteria document (EC-
45) which covers all aspects of cleaning services; licensees who meet
the specification have satisfied very stringent requirements including
clear evidence of robust training practices.
Two New Zealand cleaning services providers, The Eco Pro
Cleaning Co. and CrestClean, have embraced the criteria and
incorporated environmental best-practice into their cleaning regime.
Eco Pro co-owner, financial controller and ‘eco warrior’ Anne
Quaid joined the family business more than 20 years ago but has been
involved in cleaning since she was a teenager.
With her father David Wilson (now retired) and husband Bob, she
can point to around 100 years’ collective cleaning experience in the
family. The learnings from that experience have been condensed into
the company’s training processes, enshrined in its Operations Manual.
Anne says she’s always had an “eco” bent, which is strongly
reflected in the culture of the company. New cleaning teams get a
rigorous introduction to that culture before they even start working
for Eco Pro, with a major emphasis on how to clean better, healthier
and more ethically.
“We teach our cleaning teams that a proper green-cleaning
programme is about protecting human health – theirs and that of
the building occupants’ – as well as protecting the planet for future
generations,” she says.
“That means educating them on recycling, how to spot a green
wash, how to make good decisions on procurement and how their
actions can impact on the environment. At the end of the sessions we
often see them becoming passionate about the whole eco concept –
Anne says the Albany-based company, which has 30 contracted
cleaning teams, constantly updates the Operations Manual based on
changes and innovation coming into the industry and encourages
its teams to attend ITO courses and obtain the NZ Certificate in
Cleaning to Level 2.
It also provides on-the-job training, meets with all teams at least
every six months, undertakes full site inductions for new teams on
all sites, regularly reviews sites for hazards, emergency evacuation
procedures and any changes to clients’ health and safety policies and
procedures, and constantly tracks team performance – not just on the
cleaning but all aspects of service delivery.
“As a result – our teams are our success stories.”
Dunedin-headquartered CrestClean has more than 600 franchise
operators around New Zealand. Managing director Grant
McLauchlan says having a strongly governed franchise system, with
a rigorous ongoing training programme, helps ensure the company’s
ECNZ compliance is upheld nationwide.
Training critical to meeting
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