Management must share information about best practices for chemical handling down to frontline workers. Too often, training is incomplete, inconsistent or completely overlooked. Studies have shown that improper training leads to improper practices.

“Training is the No. 1 thing you can do to prepare your workers,” says Wilcox. “Commercial cleaning needs to have consulting and training budgets. As the industry gets more technical and more options become available, departments will need help creating an implementation plan to transition to.”

A quality training program should include standard operating procedures for all buildings and shifts. It should outline training on processes, chemicals and use, equipment, SDSs, and safety. It should cover cleaning, as well as disinfection and infection control.

“Don’t cut corners,” Wilcox says. “If you do, people can die.”

Also, training is not a one-and-done operation. It begins with substantial education upon hire, followed by competency testing to ensure retention of the information. There should be regular refresher training, especially whenever new products are implemented or responsibilities change for staff.

With high turnover rates in the cleaning industry, training can present logistical problems and a sizable investment of time and money. Facility cleaning managers seeking guidance on implementing a training program should consider partnering with a jan/san distributor.

“If they can’t lead, find another,” says Heller. “Cleaning is science, you should be able to lean on your suppliers to guide you through using chemicals properly.”

Becky Mollenkamp is a freelance writer based in St. Louis.

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Best Practices For Chemical Handling, Storage