Despite the increased need for high-quality cleaning of workplaces and public areas during COVID-19, a new survey has found nine in 10 cleaners are having to rush essential cleaning work and eight in 10 do not always have enough equipment to complete the job.
The survey from the United Workers Union (UWU) also found that 74 per cent of cleaners report not having enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to do their job safely, and that 70 per cent receive no face-to-face training.
UWU director of property services, Lyndal Ryan, said the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the importance of cleaners, who are doing “essential work in a broken system.”
“The crisis has shown everyone that high-quality cleaning that protects public health and safety cannot be delivered on a shoestring budget. Too often cleaners are asked to do too much, in not enough time, without the right training and equipment – because for years and years the contract system has driven cleaning wages and costs down.”
“Re-opening the economy is contingent on cleaning – quality cleaning is essential to the management and prevention of COVID-19. We cannot have cleaning that is inadequate for the day to day protection of people as we rebuild public confidence in returning to public spaces.”
Ryan said the focus on cleaning and hygiene during COVID-19 would propel a wider industry movement toward cleaners getting the resources and equipment they need.
“The survey results show the current reality for our cleaners – rushing work, without enough cleaning equipment to do a quality job and without enough PPE to do their job safely. In the post-COVID world it is time for a reset, for too long contractors have been cutting corners, then cleaners bear the brunt.”
“Federal, state and local Government, universities, big building owners, airports and shopping mall owners buy cleaning services and they need to understand that the cleaning of their buildings and services cannot be delivered on the smell of an oily rag. Quality cleaning requires trained cleaners, with the right equipment and enough time to do the job.”
Main survey findings:
- 91% of surveyed cleaners always, often or sometimes have to rush their work because they don’t have enough time
- 80% of cleaners do not have enough cleaning equipment to do a quality job
- 74% do not have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to do their job safely
- 70% receive no face-to-face training
Issues reported by cleaners in the survey:
- Not having enough time to finish work, constant rushing is very stressful
- Not having enough time to do a more detailed job, always being short-staffed
- Employers skimping on chemicals supplies and equipment, or diluting chemicals
- Not having safety issues taken seriously
- Not supplied with enough training, or with correct working equipment and PPE