Cleaning services that use conventional cleaning products can potentially expose their staff to high levels of various chemicals that range from being mild irritants to known carcinogens. Less exposure to harmful substances helps lower the risks for cleaning staff and building occupants, and fewer chemicals to store and dispose of safely makes regulation and compliance easier for management professionals.
To reap the benefits of sustainable cleaning products, cleaning services must select the right products in the correct quantity for each space. In addition, products need to be used correctly, with cleaning staff following proper procedures and understanding the reasons behind choosing green products over conventional cleaning solutions.
Under the GECA Cleaning Services standard, cleaning service providers must have procedures in place and provide regular training for appropriate and effective cleaning and dealing with hazards as they may arise on a worksite. They also should minimise disposable items such as cloths used during cleaning and maximise the reuse and recycling of items during their operation. Certified providers must also adhere to guidelines for reducing the amount of waste produced and water used.
When using a GECA certified cleaning service provider, staff will not only be using sustainable products, but they have also been trained in the correct operation of equipment and chemical handling.
The standard sets requirements that aim to provide a benefit by:
• requiring the procurement of environmentally preferable cleaning products
• ensuring staff are appropriately trained on essential procedures such as the safe handling and storage of chemicals, and equipment maintenance
• preventing the use of harmful ingredients such as carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins
• requiring that water use is responsibly managed
• encouraging recovery, reuse, recycling and responsible disposal of materials and packaging
• ensuring workers and suppliers through the supply chain can expect fair pay, equal opportunity, and a safe working environment
The scope of this standard applies to general cleaning services including:
• Domestic (household) cleaning
• Commercial cleaning (e.g. offices, schools, shopping centres, public buildings, outdoor and event cleaning)
• Healthcare facilities cleaning, as long as there is no conflict between existing policies in the healthcare facility and the requirements for cleaning procedures defined in this GECA standard
• Window cleaning that can be reached without the use of any lifts (not requiring working at heights)
• Hard floor strip and sealing (e.g. wooden floors, tiles, stone)
• Carpet cleaning (e.g. hot water extraction, encapsulation)
A cleaning service may either be certified as the applicant’s complete service range or specified for certain sites, regions or sectors.
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