Small business: Health and safety - Neelesh Ram

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Neelesh Ram, director of Rams Cleaning, a commercial and domestic cleaning business operating in Auckland and Fiji. He and his wife started the Auckland business in 1998 and have been operating in Fiji for two-and-a-half years where they hold contracts for a large hotel chain.

What health and safety issues are you dealing with every day?

Everyday health and safety issues can include dealing with chemicals, hazardous objects and using cleaning equipment.

We do regular audit checks on all our equipment to ensure they meet safety regulations.

This can be as small as making sure our vacuums are tested and certified every three months.

As part of our business, we use a lot of sub-contractors who need to be aware and understand our health and safety procedures. All of our employees, including our sub-contractors are put through our extensive induction process to ensure they are complying with all health and safety requirements.

Did you know there is a new workplace health and safety agency starting in December?

We're not currently aware of this, but are confident that we will be contacted and informed of any changes in regulation.

Where do you think improvements could be made in the area?

I think in general, cleaning companies need to take a more proactive and responsible approach. We currently offer a very intensive induction process - this includes online tutorials, tests, on-site specific training and in-house certification. I'm not aware of any other cleaning company that does this.

We've also found that providing a visual guide like a video is far more engaging for employees and is easier to understand, than sitting in a room being lectured to.

Do you see your health and safety procedures as a cost?

It is a high cost especially when we launched our induction programme, but it's a necessary cost to ensure the health and safety of our staff and also to provide and show clients we take the health and safety of their workplace seriously. To date we've had no workplace accidents or clients reporting accidents as a result of our cleaning service.

Do you clients want to know about how you manage health and safety issues?

We find that 80 per cent of our clients want to be provided with our health and safety guidelines before hiring our company. Due to the comprehensive way we approach our health and safety procedures, as a small/medium sized business we've managed to receive large contract clients.

Next week, we will be looking at the energetic types who organise events for NZ's industries. How profitable are these industry events and what good comes out of them? And is there good business to be made in running events?

For a good summary of the health and safety changes afoot click here

- NZ Herald

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