Ensuring compliance training is implemented

by FM Media
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Why regular training for safety compliance needs to be backed up with management commitments to sustainability and quality is explained by BRONWYN CAPANNA, executive director of ACCORD Australia.

Queen Elizabeth II once famously remarked to a BBC reporter, “It’s all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you’re properly trained.” This is a canny observation that can be applied across the commercial cleaning sector. For the makers and suppliers of formulated cleaning products, this royal insight rings true, especially when it comes to the critical goals of compliance, safety, quality, sustainability and customer care.
As the industry body for the cleaning products sector, Accord recognises the importance of training, especially for technically complex areas of regulation and product performance.

Training to assist with complex new regulations is essential across all industries. Navigating through mazes of regulations and rules is always difficult, but the right training can go a long way to making things easier.
Whatever a company’s size or the existing skills set of staff, participation in compliance-based training of the kind offered by Accord can:

  • shine a light on any personal or corporate ignorance of critical rules, so that these can be addressed and potential problems that may otherwise have appeared down the track are avoided
  • show how to go about meeting regulatory rules effectively and efficiently, as well as the pitfalls to avoid
  • build staff competence and confidence, and thereby a firm’s professionalism and its reputation with customers, and
  • enable a company to readily demonstrate their professionalism and commitment to the trifecta of safety, quality and compliance to customers.

An example of a new regulation in the cleaning industry that will require affected companies and managers to be trained on in the near future is the Globally Harmonised Scheme (GHS). The GHS for classification and labelling of hazardous chemicals and products is being progressively implemented across Australia and will require significant revisions of cleaning product labels and safety data sheets. While the deadline for its full implementation is 1 January 2017, the changes are extensive and will be quite labour-intensive for the sector’s small-to-medium businesses.

Training is important and valuable, but to move beyond the Queen’s comments and reflect upon a mentoring adage, “The training is nothing, the will to act is everything.”
It is through strong company commitments to safety performance, sustainability, quality and customer care that the lessons learned from employee training can be put into action.
It is essential to complement training activities with a company commitment to quality and sustainability to ensure a trifecta of safety, quality and compliance is attained, as this trifecta is what customers are looking for.

Responsible cleaning product manufacturers and suppliers commit to the following quality and sustainability programs:

  • the Recognised – Environmental Credentials Scheme for commercial cleaning products
  • the Responsible Supplier Checklist, and
  • the Industry Quality Commitment.

Our Recognised – Environmental Credentials Scheme provides facilities managers and their cleaning contractors with certainty that the products used to clean their premises meet a rigorous set of science-based criteria defining the characteristics of environmentally preferable cleaning products.
Illustrative of the commitment of the cleaning products industry to practical and science-based sustainability, more than 50 cleaning products from a range of leading companies have been registered to bear the Recognised logo to date.
Assessment criteria used in the scheme are built on US EPA (Environment Protection Agency) environmental safety thresholds. Additionally, all assessments are undertaken at arm’s length from companies and Accord by toxicology consultancy, Toxikos.
An independent panel of Australian toxicologists has evaluated the Recognised Scheme as “sound and robust… (with) science-based, targeted and pragmatic set of criteria” coupled with a “sound and transparent” accreditation process. The Recognised Scheme is open to Accord members and non-members. Information and documents regarding the scheme can be downloaded from our website.
Commitments of this type to credible programs and schemes that tangibly improve sustainability, safety or quality are essential for companies wanting to stand out from the crowd.

Accord is the national industry association for manufacturers and suppliers of all types of cleaning, hygiene, disinfectant and specialised products for use in commercial, institutional and industrial applications.

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