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Guidance for Cleaners and Domestic Staff

This page contains guidance on the supervision of cleaning staff;guidance on liaison with departments; and instructions for cleaners.


Always follow the instructions of your Supervisor.
Do not work without authority and only clean where you have been told.
Areas should be safe for you to clean. If you are in any doubt, do not enter until you have checked with your supervisor.
Be aware of staff, students and members of the public at all times when working. Warn others of danger.
Use equipment correctly (see below).
Do not touch any substances, equipment or waste materials in laboratories, workshops, kitchens and plant rooms unless you have been told that it is safe to do so.
Avoid touching sharp objects. Do not pick up broken glass even if you are wearing gloves - sweep it up (Eg. with dustpan and brush).
8. Report all accidents and "near misses" to your supervisor.
Clothing must be suitable for work.
Sensible shoes must be worn. Platform or high-heeled shoes, slippers, sandals, open-toed or backless styles are totally unsuitable for cleaning work and must not be worn.
You will be provided with protective clothing (overalls, gloves eye protection etc) which must be worn, stored and maintained as instructed.
Report any damaged or faulty items to your supervisor immediately.
Use protective gloves when cleaning lavatories, baths, shower rooms, wash rooms etc.
Cover all cuts and abrasions with plasters or suitable dressings.
Only eat and drink in rest rooms or common rooms and NEVER in laboratories or workshops.
Do not smoke while working.
Report any evidence of rodents, pests or vermin immediately.
If you find discarded syringe needles, do not attempt to clear them up (unless you have been trained) and tell your supervisor immediately.
Blood, vomit and other body fluids should only be cleared up by trained staff. Protective clothing must be worn and contamination of skin etc avoided.
Use warning signs to warn people of wet floors, trailing cables and other hazards. They must

  • readily seen;
  • not put where people can trip over them; and
  • removed when work is complete.

Control machine leads so that neither you nor passers-by are in danger of tripping.
Do not leave items of equipment, waste sacks etc where people could fall over them or they could cause an obstruction.
Do not leave wet floors: clear up spillage’s immediately.
Do not rush around.
Report unsafe floors (e.g. damaged tiles or worn carpets) to your supervisor.
If you need to use steps or ladders, make sure that they are firm and in good order. Steps should have a platform at the top and, if more than 3 steps high, have a rail or similar to grasp.
Falls from heights can be very dangerous:

  • never climb on furniture or window ledges;
  • use only authorised access equipment (steps, ladders etc);
  • ensure steps, ladders etc are the correct height for the job and are secured or footed where
  • necessary;
  • do not over reach; and
  • work in pairs when using access equipment.

Do not wedge or prop fire doors open except:

  • to clean the immediate area; or
  • move equipment through.

Do not obstruct fire exits.

Machines may only be used by trained people.
Read instructions before use.
Inspect cables, plugs and equipment for damage before and after use. Do not overload power supplies.
Use extension cables of the correct specification appropriate for the equipment.
Do not use machines unless they are in a safe condition. If you identify a fault:

  • STOP using the machine immediately:
  • ensure it cannot be used by others;
  • label the machine FAULTY - DO NOT USE; and
  • inform your supervisor who will arrange to send it for repair.

Machines and plugs may only be dismantled or repaired by qualified people.
Never touch switches, sockets, plugs or electrical equipment with wet hands. Stand on dry flooring if possible.
Never pull a plug out of a socket by the lead.
Unplug machines before cleaning them.
Always work within the cable length to avoid stressing or damaging the cable.
Do not allow leads to become trapped in doors etc.
Switch equipment off after use and unplug.
Clean equipment after use and store safely and securely.
Vacuum cleaners:

  • remove the plug from the socket before emptying the dust bag; and
  • suitable dust masks must be worn when emptying dust bags.

Floor polishers:
attention should always be given to the cable. Always wind the cable around the bottom cable hook and the handle rather than looping the cable loosely around the handle. Ensure the machine is unplugged before attempting to wipe the cable clean and check for signs of wear or damage;base plates can cause injury if they fall on feet. Do not store on the machine handle;due to the weight and bulk of the machine, it is not advisable for one person to attempt to lift or carry the machine; do not use the machine in areas around swimming pools; and always remove plug from socket outlet before cleaning the machine, or changing the pads or Instalock drive boards.

Carpet extractor and wet suction machines:
use carpet extractors indoors only. Do not use outdoors. Use only chemicals intended for
carpet application; and
due to the weight and bulk of the machine, it is not advisable for one person to attempt to lift or
carry the machine.
CLEANING CHEMICALS - see guidance on working with cleaning chemicals
Do not use cleaning chemicals unless you have been trained in their safe handling, storage and disposal.
Read the product label before use.
Use the correct cleaning product for the work at the appropriate dilution. Add the product to water rather than water to the product.
Follow instructions and always wear the correct protective clothing.
Allow adequate ventilation.
Some preparations are flammable, do not spray near fires or other sources of ignition.
Keep chemicals out of the reach of others.
Replace cap on container after use and wipe off any spillage’s.
If you spill chemicals on your skin, wash off immediately with plenty of water. Get first-aid attention.
If you splash chemicals in your eye, wash the eye for at least 10 minutes in running clean, cold water.
Get first-aid attention.
If you develop a rash or feel that the chemicals you are using are affecting you health, tell your Supervisor immediately.
Dispose of used or unwanted chemicals carefully and as instructed.
Plan operations, check routes for obstructions etc.
Wear protective gloves etc if necessary.
Stand close to loads and plant feet firmly with leading leg as far forward as comfortable and in the direction you intend to move.
Squat with bent knees; keep your back straight and chin tucked in.
Grip firmly.
Stand up slowly, let your legs do the work. Keep the load close to the body.
Rest the load if you want to change your grip.
Move smoothly without jerking. Avoid twisting or bending the body, lifting above head height and jumping with a load.
Lower slowly. Let your legs take the strain.
Use mechanical aids if available. Push trolleys rather than pull them.
Split big loads and don't try to carry more than you can manage.
Take extra care if you have a back problem.
Ask for help if necessary.

Cleaning staff will often be on duty at times when there are few, if any, other people about.
Ensure that your supervisor or other responsible person knows your whereabouts at all times.
Ensure your personal belongings are secured before starting work.
Take care of the keys which have been entrusted to you. If you lose them they may be found by a potential burglar and another set will have to be cut.
Report any faulty locks or window catches to your supervisor immediately.
Check the credentials of anybody requiring access to the rooms you are cleaning. If in doubt, report the matter to your Supervisor or Security Control (22083).
Relock rooms as you leave them.

If you experience:
back pain;
pain in your limbs or fingers;
skin rashes:
breathing difficulties: or
other symptoms of ill health which may be related to your work report it to your supervisor