INDUSTRY INSIGHT WWW.CHTMAG.COM NEWS 4 NOVEMBER 2015 CLEANING HYGIENE TODAY KÄRCHER UK ACQUIRES CLEAN SWEEP Kärcher UK has announced its acquisition of Manchesterbased company, Clean Sweep Hire. The move will enable customers nationwide to access their Kärcher products in a new way and cements a relationship that has grown from strength to strength over the four years Clean Sweep has offered Kärcher machines for Contract Hire. Explaining the purchase rationale, Simon Keeping, Kärcher UK’s managing director said: “We firmly believe that hire and leasing has become a significant factor in the professional cleaning market. For years, companies have leased their vehicles, IT equipment and forklift trucks. Against that backdrop, many organisations are now making the same decision regarding their floorcare requirements. “Clean Sweep has built a tremendous reputation for efficient, responsive machine hire and I’ve admired Steve’s business since we first started working together. As the relationship evolved it was clear that adding a professionally run Hire business to our offer would significantly enhance Kärcher’s position in the UK Contract Cleaning and FM market. At trade shows it became increasingly difficult to tell where Kärcher ended and Clean Sweep began. “Tying the knot” was the logical conclusion.” Clean Sweep UK managing director Steve Dennis added: “Clean Sweep UK moved over to Kärcher as their sole supplier in 2011. The motivation for this move was due to our desire to offer our customers modern, reliable and user friendly equipment. Their extensive range of machines, from Tub Vacuums to Mini Road Sweepers, enabled us to satisfy our growing and diverse customer base. Kärcher’s Technical and Training Support has enabled Clean Sweep UK to achieve the reputation it enjoys today.” TASKFORCE CAMPAIGNS TO IMPROVE WORKING CONDITIONS FOR CLEANERS WOMEN ARE MORE SUSPICIOUS OF MEN WHEN IT COMES TO OFFICE HYGIENE Research by Initial Washroom Hygiene has revealed that female employees are the most suspicious when it comes to office hygiene. The research which looked into how both men and women perceive the opposite sex’s personal hygiene habits found that British women are far less trusting of their male counterparts’ personal hygiene habits in the workplace. Exactly half of UK women believe the damning judgement that their male colleagues never wash their hands in the office. On the flipside, British men were more generous in their opinion towards women, with 96 per cent trusting that their female colleagues always washed their hands. Based on research released earlier this year, women are right to be more suspicious of men, after anonymous monitoring of 100,000 people across Europe by Initial Washroom Hygiene found that, in fact, only 38 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women wash their hands after going to the toilet. Emma Kenny, a psychologist with more than 20 years’ practicing experience, commented: “The research demonstrates the strong stereotypical belief of women being the more hygienic gender. Men, more often than not experience women as their primary care givers. With mothers as their initial role models it is likely that men form opinions that are more positive towards women, because of their attitude towards and experiences of their mother’s hygiene standards. Women conversely feel that men have questionable hygiene attitudes and again it’s likely these are formed during childhood and reinforced through stereotypical assumptions and judgements about boys and men being less concerned about their appearance and general hygiene.” The potential risk of spreading germs via the traditional handshake is high, especially as one in four office workers admit they don’t wash their hands after using the washroom. Considering 80 per cent of diseases are transmissible through touch, and 60 per cent of employee illness is believed to be contracted from dirty office equipment, it’s essential that office workers wash their hands correctly to reduce the risk of illness both for themselves and for their co-workers. Dr Peter Barratt, Initial Washroom Hygiene, commented: “What these findings particularly highlight is that we all need to be more responsible when it comes to hand hygiene. Washing your hands thoroughly for 20-30 seconds remains the simplest and most effective way to reduce the spread of infection, and employers need to take the lead to ensure all their employees wash their hands thoroughly after every washroom visit, whether they are male or female. Employers should also encourage their workers to take time to fully recover from an illness as this will help stop its transmission within the office. “By providing the best facilities available, such as good quality soap from dispensers, sanitising gels and hand drying equipment, and encouraging good and consistent hand washing behaviour it shouldn’t be necessary to change the way co-workers greet each other, and employers can ensure that their staff retain full confidence in each other’s hygiene, whilst reducing the risk of transmitting infections.” The report, was commissioned by Initial in conjunction with Harris Interactive. An industry-led taskforce set up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched a campaign to improve working conditions in the cleaning industry. The Commission convened the taskforce following publication of its report The Invisible Workforce: employment practices in the cleaning sector. This set out findings on employment practices in the commercial cleaning sector in England, Scotland and Wales. The report found many examples of good practice. These included cleaning firms with policies in place to promote equality and also clients who enter into longer-term contracts. These help firms to develop positive relationships with suppliers and also encourage investment in workforce development, leading to greater job stability. The report also found that some employers did not provide contracts to staff. Further, some failed to pay their employees in full, or to pay sickness or holiday leave entitlements. Many cleaning operatives are female migrants, who spoke of being ‘invisible’, of being treated badly compared to other employees, and said they did not understand their rights. To solve these problems the taskforce developed principles for responsible procurement. The purpose of this is to encourage clients who buy in cleaning services to consider the impact of procurement on the employment practices of cleaning providers. The taskforce also developed a poster to highlight the value of cleaning operatives, and Your Rights at Work postcards for cleaning firms to send to their employees explaining their employment rights. The taskforce, is chaired by EHRC deputy chair Caroline Waters, and includes leading businesses, trade associations and trade unions.
CHT November 2015
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