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Prevention of Accidents to Cleaning Operatives

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In October 2015 the national minimum wage for adults increased to £6.70 an hour and for apprentices to £3.30 an hour.

However, the Living Wage Foundation advises that the living wage for workers outside London should be £8.25 an hour, to meet the basic cost of living and give people the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families.

According to the Office for National Statistics around 8% of people in work are classified as poor. A possible example of this is people working in the cleaning sector, described by the Equality and Human Rights Commission as the invisible workforce because the work of cleaners goes unnoticed and unappreciated.

It is believed that the cleaning sector contributes more than £8 billion to the UK economy and that about half a million people work as cleaners. Most businesses outsource cleaning to save money and reduce costs, and the effect of this has put a constant downward cost pressure on cleaning firms, with a knock-on impact on cleaners’ pay. The cleaning industry employs a higher proportion of female, ethnic minority and older workers compared to the average UK workforce.

Cleaning firms are under pressure to provide a service at the lowest cost possible, and this causes a negative effect on working hours, pay, the intensity of work and training. Nevertheless, cleaning firms have a legal obligation to protect the safety of their employees at work. Everyone is entitled to a workplace where risks to health and safety are properly controlled, and the starting point for considering workplace safety is the risk assessment. The process of carrying out a risk assessment will identify the different types of hazards, evaluate the risks and identify the safety measures to eliminate or control the risks.

The national minimum wage and the protection provided by the workplace safety laws apply to the cleaning industry in just the same way that they apply to other industries.

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

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