Many businesses have been finding ways to cut down on bills and expenses. In their minds, some services are becoming ‘unnecessary’ or they can already be done by a contracted employee for the same pay.  Some businesses are cutting down by eliminating the need for cleaning services. 

 Employees in many businesses and big corporations will notice a growing trend of providing a communal rubbish and recycling bins in one or two locations on each floor. This is a development from having trash bins at every single desk in the workplace. This method promotes the idea of decreasing the amount of trash generated. In addition, it forces employees to contemplate whatever they are throwing away and walk the distance between their desks and the trash bin. For the cleaning crew, it takes only half the time in comparison to remove trash from every bin and recycling from the building. 

Hidden Hazards for Employees  

Some businesses are taking a step farther. They ask employees to monitor the cleaning of their own workspaces, with the inclusion of the kitchen and bathroom.  General tidiness is a must and expected from all employees. This might be seen as efficient in a business point of view but many employers and employees are not aware of the activities’ hazards. There are many Occupational Health and Safety issues hidden within simple tasks like mopping the washroom floor or climbing up a ladder to store your own files. In Australia, employees expected to undertake such tasks must be properly trained to do so or the company will be at risk. Such risks are injury caused by manual handling and damage caused by chemical handling and exposure. 

In the first risk, manual handling is defined as any time an employee uses a ladder, must put something above a comfortable height, lifts a box or even pushes a vacuum. An employer who would require these actions should prepare a training for the employees by using a training module.   

Regarding chemical handling and exposure, if an employee suffers a chemical burn, chemical overexposure or any type of chemical related damage, this will be considered as OHS issue if the employee has no chemical handling training. 

Other Risks 

There are other risks for employees if they are also asked to do the cleaning of their workspace. For instance, the company will be held liable for any instance that an employee suffers an injury at work, whether from an isolated incident or repeat strain. This could happen anytime and it could led to medical bills due to injury. 

Another factor for consideration is the operation of cleaning equipment and machinery, chemicals, slippery and damp surfaces and other environmental elements which might not be taken seriously at first. However, these can be the things that may lead to a cleaning accident for the employees, whether they are trained or untrained. 

Cost is something that businesses take seriously. It is up to the business whether they wish to cut their cleaning costs and train their employees for cleaning tasks. It is also their choice to hire a professional cleaning company to get the job done. It might be even more practical and financially sound to simply hire people who are aware and trained in their work. 

This guest post was written by Sharon Freeman, an Australian freelance writer and blogger.  She has been writing about commercial cleaning services and workplace cleanliness articles for companies like

Sharon, this article should make us think about our own housekeeping duties in our work area.  workplace safety posters located throughout the area could communicate the importance of keeping their workplace safe and clean.  Many people don’t  appreciate their work enough to monitor this task. Whether their employer contracts cleaning crews or has their own, it’s still important that workers respect their workplace enough to keep it safe, and tidy, as well. pb