If your janitorial training manual is going to adequately protect your employees – and your business – it needs to include some specific safety information.
While it may not seem so on the surface, commercial cleaning can be a risky business. In addition to the general liability assumed by running a company, there are health and safety concerns to consider as well. A good janitorial training manual needs to account for such concerns in addition to your internal processes and procedures.
But what information needs to be included? Are there specific state or federal requirements? The short answer is, no, there are no hard and fast janitorial training manual needs, but there’s plenty of information to include that can help everyone stay safe.
3 Topics to include in your janitorial training manual
1. OSHA guidelines
Perhaps the most critical of guidelines to include in your training documents is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standard for handling bloodborne pathogens. Training for OSHA’s standard is mandatory in the cleaning business, so even though you’re not required to put the information in a manual, it’s not a bad idea.
Some of the things covered by OSHA training include personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, exposure control protocol, and vaccination requirements. Regular training is required annually, so having this information available in a training manual will help your employees stay on top of the most current legislation as well as retain the information they’ve learned when they are on the job site. Remember, also, that some states and locales have stricter rules than the OSHA standard. We recommend checking training requirements in your region with legal counsel to make sure you’re staying compliant.
2. Chemical and biohazard safety
Another thing every janitorial training manual needs is information about the chemicals used on a regular basis, as well as procedures for things like cleaning up bodily fluids. The chemical safety information you provide is pretty much up to you, but remember that the more you put in the manual, the better equipped your employees are to stay safe when they handle potentially dangerous material.
Biohazard cleanup is a little more regulated. Again, the OSHA bloodborne pathogen standard will give you a lot of the guidance you need in this department, but you might also include things like transportation regulations and what to do should someone be exposed to any bodily fluid or other biohazard material.
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3. Equipment safety and standard operating procedure
A thorough janitorial training manual also includes a section on equipment safety. Whether your employees are using simple tools, like mops and rags, or whether they’re operating heaving things, like floor buffers and carpet cleaners, there are things they’ll want to do to make sure they stay safe on the job site. Outlining equipment safety protocols will also cut down on the number of on-the-job injuries, resulting in fewer hours of lost work, fewer workers’ compensation claims, and most importantly, fewer health problems for your staff.
Standard operating procedure is merely the practice your company follows when engaged on any worksite. This section may include information about how to properly wipe down and vacuum an office, when to change the water in the mop bucket, and how to practice green-cleaning solutions, among other things. Again, it’s better to be more specific than less so that your employees know what’s expected of them whenever they’re on the clock.
What not to include
Remember that you’re not writing an employee handbook—that’s an entirely separate document. A janitorial training manual needs to outline policies and procedures related to the practical, hands-on work your employees perform. You don’t need to include things like employee code of conduct, pay and benefits, and career development. Those are all good things to provide your staff, but in a different document.
You can also leave out Department of Labor regulations, as those are a little different from health and safety regulations. You can cover these in an employee handbook.
No matter what, it’s always a good idea to consult with legal counsel when creating any document you intend to distribute to employees for their health and welfare. They are best equipped to tell you if you’ve missed something. And don’t forget to update your janitorial training manual on a regular basis, especially when you switch to new equipment or products. Take the time, also, to investigate the products you use to make sure that there aren’t additional health and safety concerns you may have overlooked. Finally, make sure to provide any mandatory training to new and existing employees in compliance with federal, state, and local laws. A written document is never a substitute for compulsory training.
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