Knowledge Center: Training Duty

Having clear standards to guide workers helps them achieve cleaning goals.

As education funding becomes more scarce, maintenance staffs at schools and universities are being called upon to do more with less. So it's more important than ever for institutions to establish a well-thought-out program for managing maintenance and cleaning operations.

Setting clear standards for what is expected of a cleaning program can help workers at schools and universities carry out their duties most effectively.

To help maintenance staffs set and meet appropriate cleaning goals, ISSA, a trade association for the cleaning industry, has compiled a Cleaning Industry Management Standard, which "outlines the primary characteristics of a successful, quality cleaning organization." The standard, ISSA asserts, is "achievable by all cleaning organizations, regardless of size and sophistication."

Training employees effectively is one of the keys to a successful cleaning program, ISSA says. The standard states that:

  • Each employee shall participate in a site-specific orientation program, and there should be written documentation that an orientation program was provided. A program should have a written curriculum for technical and leadership training of management, and documentation that personnel have been trained. There also shall be a written curriculum for technical training and customer-service training of cleaning personnel, and documentation that personnel have been trained.

    "All management and cleaning personnel training shall be offered in a format or language that is easily understood by the trainee," the standard says.

A cleaning program should have provisions that make sure the work is carried out in a safe, healthful and environmentally conscious manner. The standard states that a cleaning operation should:

  • Have a written hazard communication program, and have Material Safety Data Sheets readily available for all hazardous chemical products.

  • Have a chemical inventory that contains an accurate and complete list of all chemicals on site. Employees who handle chemicals shall be trained on the use and hazards of those chemicals.

    All chemical containers shall be labeled as required, and shall be used in a safe and proper manner and in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

The standard calls upon cleaning programs to profess a commitment to environmental standards, including a written statement of the organization's commitment to environmental ethics. The policy should have a commitment to continual improvement and pollution prevention, and the environmental objectives should be reviewed at least once every 24 months.

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