While much of the national, ‘harmonised’, occupational health and safety law content is focused on cleaning services’ providers, the part that equipment suppliers play should not be under-estimated. Cruse Partnership’s Norine Cruse emphasises that equipment investment, operation, and training are all part of a cleaning contractor’s OHS ‘action plan’.
Delivering a timely presentation at the BSCAA NSW’s annual general meeting lunch early July, Cruse explained that the new legislation requires a close working relationship between product suppliers and their BSC customers.
For instance, buyers need to be more specific in purchase orders to ensure they are buying products that are actually fit for the purpose intended. ‘Designers of plant, substances and structures also have a duty of care on them to ensure their products are fit for purpose and that they provide sufficient and appropriate information for the operation/use of goods supplied.’
“For instance, request that mobile plant be provided with a risk assessment and operator training as well as operator instructions. And look at maintenance plans to ensure equipment remains operationally safe,” said Cruse.
In a contract review, clearly define related WHS responsibilities. For example, if a contractor supplies their own plant and equipment be clear in any agreement (even purchase orders) where the responsibility lies for workplace operation, maintenance, operator competencies and public safety.
Again, in performance monitoring, positive performance indicators showing a contractor’s due (OHS) diligence should include ‘investment in plant/equipment maintenance programs’ and ‘reduction measures in the use of hazardous chemicals’.
Obviously, for savvy suppliers and distributors, the new OHS laws will bring with them sales opportunities.