03 Oct School Cleaning Teams
During the summer holiday period in the UK we were asked to provide onsite training to in-house housekeeping and cleaning staff, to a number of state run and private schools. Any holiday period (summer break or end of term) is ideal for cleaning teams to review their current skills and perceived deficiencies and address problems, although more often than not this is near impossible to do internally. The recurring theme in all the schools we visited was that there were many other cleaning and safety issues that needed to be addressed, over and above the issues raised as part of internal reviews. This is not necessarily a reflection on poor internal quality management; it is much harder to spot problems from inside, especially if the same quality review systems have been in place for a good many years – an independent external review will pick up what has been missed.
Each school contacted us with a unique list of items to be addressed in the training, but keeping it open to address any issues brought up by staff or by us. The common topics requested were basic cleaning techniques and methods, including the use of powered cleaning machinery (buffers, scrubber driers and carpet cleaners), with the emphasis on effectiveness and safety. More specific topics were requested, like infection control, which on the surface might seem like a disparate topic, but, as was discussed during the training sessions, infection control is an intricate part of cleaning. This same methodology of linking cleaning techniques together with other topics helped the staff understand and appreciate the reasons for cleaning and consequences of their cleaning actions to themselves, to others and to the surface they are cleaning. We found it to be a great way of linking basic cleaning techniques with general health and safety (manual handling, slips & trips, etc), care for cleaning equipment, safe use of cleaning equipment and products.