Legal Requirements And Health & Safety Information
MAK.today Legal Requirements And Health & Safety Information
For a cleaning business in the UK you’ll need three things:
- Eligibility to work in the United Kingdom
- Registered limited company
As an employer, cleaning company needs to register with HMRC and collect tax and national insurance for your employees. If they are self-employed, they need to be registered as such and to complete an annual Self Assessment tax return.
Type of Insurances:
Public liability insurance – this protects you against claims from third parties in cases of personal injury or property damage, including accidents. It means you’ll be covered in case you accidentally break someone’s heirloom vase!
Professional indemnity insurance – this protects you against claims from unhappy employees or clients. It means you’re covered if a customer refuses to pay an invoice or if you need to rectify a mistake.
Employers’ liability insurance – if you have any number of staff then this protects you against claims from employees, in case they sustain an injury or illness whilst working for you.
There are three main cleaning markets: domestic, commercial, and specialist.
Domestic cleaners don’t generally require any qualifications.
However, for commercial and specialist there might be needed qualification.
Self-Employed Cleaner Legal Obligations (Freelancers)
As with any other self-employed profession, self-employed cleaners have a few legal obligations, particularly with regard to tax.
You need to register as self-employed with HMRC, and you’ll need to complete an annual Self Assessment tax return. You’ll also need to pay your tax bill by 31 January each year, and make a payment on account every 31 July.
You can read more about completing your tax return in our comprehensive small business guide to Self Assessment tax returns.
It’s also important to think about insurance. Consider taking out a public liability insurance policy to protect yourself against claims arising from injury or loss suffered by a member of public as a result of your work. If you employ anyone in your cleaning business, you’ll also be legally obliged to take out employers’ liability insurance.
How Can ISO Certification Help Cleaning Business?
ISO certified management systems can help to improve processes, reduce costs, and enhance customer confidence in services. Gaining ISO certification demonstrates a commitment to quality and employee training. This in turn can help win tenders and retain existing customers.
Which ISO Standards Are Best For Cleaning Business?
The three main standards are recommended for cleaning companies: ISO 45001, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
ISO 45001- Health & Safety
Many cleaning companies work on premises that are not under their direct control. This makes it vital that they have a robust health and safety management system in place to protect employees and contractors working off-site. The internationally recognized ISO 45001 management system ensures you have the appropriate processes in place to manage risks, prevent accidents, meet your legal obligations and reassure your clients.
ISO 9001:2015 is another great standard for cleaning companies because it demonstrates you have a competent team and value your clients’ needs. This can help you win new business and retain existing business. Its simple ‘plan-do-check-act’ process will also help you drive continual improvements and reduce costs.
The ISO 14001 standard demonstrates your commitment to protecting the environment. It will help you to evaluate the environmental effect of all your products and activities. As well as helping you reduce waste, save money and comply with environmental regulations, it will also support continual improvements in your business performance.
What Are The Benefits Of ISO Certification?
ISO certification proves that company’s ISO management system has been independently checked and verified against the relevant standard. This demonstrates to clients that the company complies with industry best practice, all relevant legislation and their own business requirements.
Further benefits include:
- More efficient delivery of products and services
- Higher quality and continually improving services
- Fewer accidents and lower costs
- Employees committed to maintaining quality across your business.
Cleaning Chemical Safety (The COSHH Regulations)
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (or COSHH) is the UK law that requires all employers to control the risks from harmful substances. As the owner of a cleaning business it’s your responsibility to ensure that the chemicals you use are handled, stored and used safely so that they don’t cause harm to you, your workers and your clients.
But how can you ensure chemical safety?
All cleaning chemicals are hazardous substances and must be treated with care.
The people who use them must be correctly trained and understand how to minimize risks. If used incorrectly then cleaning chemicals can cause all sorts of ill-health problems, such as asthma, skin irritation or even poisoning. They may even have flammable or explosive properties if they’re not handled and stored in the correct manner.
It’s not just a legal requirement to use your cleaning chemicals safely. Doing so will protect the health of your workers and will reduce the likelihood of expensive medical costs and lost productivity. If a staff member is off work ill, then you’ll lose a vital pair of helping hands and your income will begin to drop.
To comply with the Regulations, you should first carry out a risk assessment.
This means taking a look at your cleaning chemicals and the places you’ll be working, and then identifying what may pose a risk to health. Read the warning labels of your cleaning products (hazard symbols are red, white and black) to assess which are likely to be harmful. Consider whether you’ll be working in close contact with them and for how long. You can then use this information to work out how you can keep people safe.
14 Top Tips For Cleaning Chemical Safety
Follow these top tips to ensure that you’re using your cleaning supplies safely:
- Avoid the use of harmful chemicals where possible. Substitute the chemical for a less-toxic one wherever there is a choice.
- Never mix chemicals together. It could make them incredibly toxic or cause a chemical reaction or explosion.
- Don’t use more than is needed. Always follow the chemical’s instructions about how much to dispense.
- Don’t use chemicals past their use-by dates. Safely dispose of any out-of-date chemicals as they may become hazardous (as well as less effective).
- Prepare a fresh solution each time. Don’t re-use chemicals or carry the same bucket from premises to premises.
- Use a measured dispenser. This ensures you get the right amount each time and helps to avoid accidents.
- Dispose of hazardous chemicals safely. Most cleaning chemicals are water-soluble so can be poured down the drain, but those that aren’t mixed with water must be disposed of via an authorized waste carrier.
- Be careful not to spill anything. If you’re manually dispensing products then avoid spilling them, especially in areas where they may come into contact with people’s food or skin.
- Store chemicals in labelled, sealed containers. You should keep them in their original packaging, so you always know what they are and can access their labels’ safety information.
- Keep your chemical storage area tidy. Even if it’s just a box that you carry from job to job, ensure that it’s clean and secure so the chemicals can’t spill.
- Don’t use broken equipment. Keep everything that you use clean and in good repair to avoid accidents or contamination.
- Open a window or turn on the extractor fan. Ventilation is particularly important in small spaces, like bathrooms, where fresh air cannot flow as freely and you may become overwhelmed with the smell of chemicals.
- Train your employees. Ensure that they also know the risks and how to handle, store and use cleaning chemicals safely.
- Provide protective measures. It’s unlikely that you can avoid the use of chemicals altogether so make sure you and your staff are protected from the risks. For example, wear gloves, long sleeves and a protective face mask where required.