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Example risk assessment for a cleaning contractor (shopping centre concourse)

Important reminder

This example risk assessment shows the kind of approach a small business might take. It can be used as a guide to think through some of the hazards in your business and the steps you need to take to control the risks. Please note that it is not a generic risk assessment that you can just put your company name on and adopt wholesale without any thought. This would not satisfy the law - and would not be effective in protecting people.

Every business is different - you need to think through the hazards and controls required in your business for yourself.

Setting the scene

This company provides commercial cleaning services to businesses, employing 60 full- and part-time cleaners. They have won a contract to clean all concourse areas, including outer entrance areas, of a shopping centre.

The shopping centre is open from 8.00 am to 5.30 pm, every day, and has 24-hour security. General cleaning, by four cleaners, is done from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, and more detailed cleaning, by six cleaners, from 5.00 pm to 9.00 pm. An agency worker covers sick and holiday leave. A supervisor is in charge of each shift.

Rest facilities for cleaners, including toilets and a small kitchen, are provided at the shopping centre management offices. Cleaning machines, materials and other equipment are securely stored there.

How was the risk assessment done?

The contracts manager followed the guidance in Controlling the risks in the workplace.

  1. To identify the hazards, the contracts manager:
    • looked at HSE’s website for advice on controlling risks in the cleaning industry for advice on employing temporary workers;
    • walked around the concourse, noting things that might be dangerous and taking HSE guidance into account;
    • talked to safety representatives, and other staff, to learn from their experience, and identify staff needs; and
    • talked to the shopping centre managers and agreed issues such as:
      • lines and frequency of communication between
      • the cleaning company and the shopping centre management; facilities and equipment available to the cleaners,
      • including storage space and welfare facilities; reporting of near-miss accidents (eg to members of
      • the public) to shopping centre management and risks they discover, such as damaged floor tiles; the security of cleaning equipment and substances,
      • to ensure only trained cleaners can access/use them; and the fire procedures for cleaners.
  2. The manager then wrote down who could be harmed by the hazards and how.
  3. For each hazard, the manager wrote down what controls, if any, were in place to manage these hazards. They then compared these controls to the good practice guidance on the HSE website. Where existing controls were not considered good enough, the manager wrote down what else needed to be done to control or eliminate the risk.
  4. The manager discussed the findings of the risk assessment with staff, making sure they understood the risks of the job and how these risks would be controlled and monitored. He put a copy of the risk assessment up in the staff kitchen for all staff to see, and made it part of the induction process for new staff, including agency workers. Putting the risk assessment into practice, the manager decided to tackle the most important things first. This included identifying when actions would be done and who would do them. As each action was completed, it was ticked off the plan.
  5. The manager decided to review and update the risk assessment every year, or straight away if major changes in the workplace happened – including changes in the use of equipment or chemicals.
Updated 2014-09-01