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By Michael Ojo, country director, WaterAid Nigeria
In so many ways, Nigeria is a study in contrasts. An ambitious middle-income country and Africa's largest economy, it also struggles to provide some of the most basic of services to its residents. An estimated one-third of Nigerians do not have access to clean water, and two-thirds do not have safe private toilets. And one in three healthcare facilities does not have access to water, according to a WHO landscape survey.
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Now I wouldn’t say I’m a prude and nor would I say I’m judgmental, but I was really taken aback to read in the press this week about the company that’s recruiting cleaners whose only protective clothing will be gloves and slippers… indeed whose only clothing will be gloves and slippers… I was horrified!
The cleaning industry has worked so hard to improve the public’s perception of cleaning, yet here’s a company seeking to charge £25 for the first hour for a clothed cleaner or £65 for a naked one, with a £5 or £10 reduction (respectively) for subsequent hours.
Are they both trained to similar standards I wonder?
I can completely understand the idea of naturism but feel that cleaning without clothing is not only undignified but that it is leaving the cleaners vulnerable to all manner of things.
How do they clean properly while preserving their dignity if they’re not wearing any clothes? Are they likely to injure themselves by twisting awkwardly to clean difficult-to-reach areas without exposing more of their bodies than they might do if they adopted a more comfortable (but also more body-exposing) stance? And what about those who are tasked with doing the ironing, or who are using chemicals, which might splash sensitive parts of their bodies?
And what about the neighbours, who might encounter a window cleaner who’s wearing nothing but a smile?
I’ve visited the company’s website and am disturbed by what I’ve read, such as references to “beautiful, nude cleaners” (ugly ones need not apply then!) and that having a nude cleaner “makes one of the most boring chores become one of the most fun”. It even says: “Paying for a cleaner is a life saver… but it’s not exactly a fun experience. But a naturist nude cleaner? Suddenly a boring chore you have been putting off for a long time becomes one of the highlights of your year” - before inviting clients to discuss with their cleaners, whether they’re going to watch them work!
Am I the only one who finds this distasteful?
I’m sorry, but while this story has attracted huge publicity (and possibly custom) it’s taken the industry back years in terms of raising the profile of those who clean for a living and made it into a bit of a joke. I’d almost say that the now-rarely-seen image of Mrs Mopp would be more helpful…
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This Week's News
Recycling of waste collected from households across the UK has fallen for the first time since records began. The drop from 44.9% to 44.3% may seem small but this is deeply worrying - particularly when you consider that this masks the fact that recycling rates in Scotland and Wales actually increased, leaving England's performance to drag down the overall UK total.
The 10 most bizarre excuses used by unscrupulous bosses found to have underpaid workers the UK National Minimum Wage were revealed yesterday by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The announcement is part of a £1.7 million UK Government awareness campaign designed to encourage workers to check their pay to ensure they are receiving at least the statutory minimum, ahead of the National Minimum and National Living Wages rising on 1st April.
"There is no excuse for not paying staff properly," said Business Minister Margot James, announcing the list of excuses, investigators from HMRC have been given, by employers caught out for underpaying staff:
Following the success of the Cleaning Show's move to London in 2015, the 2017 event, which is being held 14th - 16th March at London's ExCeL, is expected to almost double in size, with some market-leading companies and many smaller organisations booked to exhibit.
Under the Lewi product brand, Lehmann KG has produced sophisticated quality tools for use by the glass and building cleaner for many years, while following the proven Lewi philosophy: versatile and ergonomic components, perfect quality and optimum functionality - at an attractive price.
According to UK Home Office data, an estimated 500,000 to 900,000 people work illegally in Britain; many in the capital. There are hundreds of thousands of fraudulent identity documents in circulation in the UK, yet few contractors are able to spot them. Julius Rutherfoord has published a new best practice document, 'Security in Cleaning' and an accompanying infographic - both freely downloadable - to highlight the challenges of ensuring the safety and security of facilities being cleaned and the operatives cleaning them.
The iVo RovaWash has been developed for those seeking a versatile, multi-purpose scrubbing and drying machine, which gives a robust and thorough clean to many different surfaces. It can act as a carpet scrubber, Altro flooring cleaner, an entrance matting cleaner and a stair scrubber.
For decades, the cleaning industry in the more developed countries has been pushing the idea of colour-coding to prevent cross-contamination, but now an organisation has gone one stage further by introducing day-specific colour-coded bedding, to improve hygiene and patient care, while ensuring that the sanitation mechanism that has been put in place, is adhered to.
The pay strike by some 17,000 East Delhi sanitation workers, which has lasted almost a week and is involving protests outside East Delhi Municipal Corporation headquarters in Patparganj and the dumping of rubbish in front of the Legislative Assembly's offices, is now posing serious health and hygiene threats thanks to the rubbish piling up in residential areas.
Spill containment specialist Ecospill has launched its new brochure for 2017. Featuring a range of innovative new solutions to your workplace challenges, it introduces some great new products and expanded ranges, allowing you to be more spill-prepared than ever before.
A new and innovative product for 2017, is the flat absorbent sock, which is ideal for use under machinery and equipment, preventing leaks and spills from spreading into walkways and work areas.
SCA has announced that it is to discontinue its hygiene business in India. Four years after entering the Indian market, the company's conclusion is that profitability cannot be achieved within a reasonable timeframe.
Empteezy now has over 200 staff and has reported a turnover of £90 million in the last three years. In 2016, exports from its UK manufacturing base increased by 18% versus 2015 and overall, turnover increased by 8% versus 2015.
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Recent UK News
The Environmental Audit Committee has launched an enquiry into the future of environmental law and policy following the UK's vote to leave the EU, which will focus on the future of the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).
It will consider the possible impacts on environmental protection, public safety and the UK chemicals industry and submissions must be received by 18:00 on 20th January.
"Biohazard and trauma cleaning are governed by stringent regulations and health & safety guidelines. This isn't a matter of unnecessary bureaucracy; as dramatic as it sounds, it can save lives.
According to a new report commissioned by Amicus Commercial Finance, well over half (61%) of invoices issued by UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) remain unpaid within the debtor day period. Of these, almost three-quarters (70%) of firms say they rely on getting paid during their debtor day period to avoid facing a shortage of working capital.
The research shows that one in six (16%) SME invoices remains unpaid after 90 days and of these, almost half (7%) have yet to be settled after six months.
Each less than two minutes long, the videos include 'How to calculate the specification for your refuse sack', 'How to calculate the correct size liner for a square or rectangular bin', 'How to calculate the correct size liner for a circular bin' and 'How to perform a drop test in accordance with the CHSA Plastic Refuse Sack Manufacturing Standard'.
"Anyone responsible for managing a premises will know how important the cleaning schedule, process and choice of products is. Cleaning products contain chemicals that allow them to do an effective job, but they can be potentially harmful to members of the public and the staff that use them.
Slips, trips and falls are the leading cause of major injuries in the workplace. These injuries can be devastating for the individual involved and they generate a huge financial burden on industry. Almost all slips and trips can be prevented, often with simple inexpensive interventions - but the key is in knowing the best methods. Slips and trips can happen for a number of reasons, but all too frequently people jump to conclusions about why they happen rather than looking for the true cause, or assume that it is 'just one of those things' and do nothing.
Generally, at 18.1%, the gap in average pay between men and women, for all employees across many industries, is the lowest since records began. The cleaning industry fares a great deal better than that...
Hampshire-based Industrial Cleaning Equipment, has, this month, acquired 100% of the shares of Cleaning Equipment Supplies (CES), which is based in Cwmbran, South Wales.
"This is a very exciting and strategic acquisition for the ICE business," says Mark Bresnihan, CEO of ICE. "We have been in discussion with CES for some time, to learn about how this opportunity could benefit both organisations and their customers. "We feel really positive about the CES business, its people and what it can bring to the ICE group.
The information provided by local authorities and compiled by the FSA, which gives a detailed breakdown of enforcement activity across the country, shows an increase in a number of areas of local authority enforcement activity, and levels of hygiene compliance in food business, in spite of reported staffing reductions.