By Jim Flieler
As we look deeper into the 2019 Report on the Building Services Contractor Market, one finding in particular stands out: 3-5 years. This is the average employee retention at BSCs. Your BSC can do better than that by building a strong training program on a foundation that is standardized, and focused on safety and consistency. Here, we look at the fundamentals of any successful BSC training program.
Proper procedural training
Your cleaning staff will need to be trained on your BSC’s standard operating procedures. Your company should already have a standard system for cleaning all of its buildings to minimize confusion and to help streamline training. Of course, if you have clients in different facility sectors, certain parts of your system may change.
This training should be conducted for all new hires, and will include basics like:
- Time of day you clean each building
- How each room is cleaned
- How garbage and recycling is handled
- Everyday cleaning duties
- Specialized /deep cleaning tasks
- Where to park, pick up keys
- How to leave the building
Handing your employees a list of the above does not constitute training. You’ll want to demonstrate and encourage hands-on opportunities to train on specific tasks. An effective way to train and engage new employees is through guided practice times, where new workers are able to practice the skills they learned in training with a trusted mentor on hand to supervise and correct.
Government regulations & SDS
It is imperative that all employees are trained on government regulations and all product safety sheets before beginning any work with your company. As cleaners, your employees face many risks. Safety is of the utmost importance and the cornerstone of any training program in the cleaning industry. In addition, when you stress worker safety as a top priority at your BSC, you are showing workers that you care. This further engages them in their work, and promotes retention.
Some of the risks that cleaners are exposed to, which require specific safety and regulatory training, include exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals, performing tasks that could lead to injury, or working with equipment that could pose a threat of injury. Slips and falls are also a significant concern for workers in the cleaning industry.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the governmental agency responsible for assuring safe and healthful working conditions for employees, by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance in the United States. The Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch of the Department of Health of the Government of Canada (HECS) is the federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health through prevention, oversight and regulation of workplace products in accordance with the laws and regulations of Canada. These two organizations work closely together and have many overlapping regulations and standards. In fact, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) has been established as the global standard for classifying chemical hazards and communicating information through labels and safety data sheets.
OSHA standards and guidelines play a key role in eliminating or minimizing these hazards and are crucial to ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. The GHS MSDS give your employees further details on the safest ways to handle and apply cleaning products, which products to mix and not mix, and instructions regarding dilution control. For additional resources to help employers comply with and workers understand OSHA requirements, read OSHA’s Employers page or the HECS website.
Remember, you’re not in this alone. The cleaning industry is full of sources for training materials and programs. Trade associations, distributors and manufacturers often have proven training models and platforms that you can use with your own staff.