Key Health and Safety Protocols in Commercial Cleaning

Every establishment, commercial space, or facility will likely accumulate germs, bacteria, and dirt over time. If these contaminants aren’t addressed, they can present serious health risks for employees, customers, and visitors.

As a New Zealand entrepreneur, you recognise that prioritising the well-being of occupants in commercial premises and adhering to strict cleaning standards isn’t just advisable – it’s a legal requirement outlined in the Public Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. Adhering to this legislation reflects your commitment to excellence and care for those who interact with your business. (1)

In this article, we’ll discuss essential health and safety protocols that should be integral to any commercial cleaning regimen. Let’s get started:

Risk assessment and planning

Before implementing any cleaning procedures, it’s critical to conduct a thorough risk assessment of the premises. This involves carefully examining the facility, identifying potential hazards, high-traffic areas, and specific cleaning needs. The goal is to develop a tailored plan that addresses these factors and establishes clear protocols for routine cleaning and disinfection.  Make sure it’s communicated effectively to all staff and regularly reviewed and updated to meet changing needs and evolving best practices.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Commercial cleaning often exposes workers to various hazards, such as harmful chemicals, bodily fluids, and infectious agents. Therefore, providing and enforcing the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is paramount to avoid any serious health injuries.

Here are some PPE items that should be readily available and worn during cleaning tasks include:

  • Gloves: Protect hands from chemical exposure, sharp objects, and biological hazards.
  • Face masks: Shield against inhaling dust, fumes, and airborne particles, particularly important for tasks involving aerosolised chemicals or biological contaminants.
  • Eye protection: Safety glasses or goggles safeguard against splashes of chemicals, fluids, or debris that could cause eye irritation or injury.
  • Aprons or protective clothing: Coveralls or aprons shield clothing from spills, splashes, and contamination.
  • Footwear: Closed-toe, slip-resistant shoes protect from slipping, falling objects, and potential puncture hazards.
  • Respirators: N95 respirators or higher-grade masks may be necessary when working with toxic chemicals, mould or in environments with poor ventilation.
  • Hearing protection: Earplugs or earmuffs should be worn when using loud equipment or working in noisy environments to prevent hearing damage.

The importance of quality PPE can’t be overstated. For instance, the Ministry of Health’s allocation of USD$ 37 million towards PPE that didn’t meet the standards for its intended purpose serves as a stark reminder. Be sure to invest in high-quality materials, as substandard ones can compromise the protection it’s meant to provide. (2)

High-touch Surface disinfection

Even small areas of oversight in cleaning can lead to significant health risks. That’s why thorough disinfection of high-touch surfaces is crucial in commercial cleaning protocols. These surfaces, such as doorknobs, handrails, light switches, elevator buttons, and countertops, are frequently touched by multiple people throughout the day, making them hotspots for the transmission of germs and viruses.

Using appropriate disinfectants approved by health authorities, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, is essential. Make sure that your staff are trained in the correct application of disinfectants, including appropriate contact times for effective sanitation. Additionally, establish a regular schedule for disinfecting high-touch surfaces, especially in areas with high foot traffic or where food is prepared and served.

Ventilation and air quality

Proper ventilation plays a significant role in maintaining indoor air quality and reducing the spread of airborne contaminants. Ensure that ventilation systems are functioning optimally, with regular maintenance and filter replacement. When possible, encourage natural ventilation by opening windows and doors to promote air circulation.

In areas where ventilation may be limited, such as enclosed spaces or restrooms, consider using air purifiers or HVAC systems with high-efficiency filters to remove airborne pollutants and improve air quality.   Adequate ventilation supports a healthier indoor environment and enhances the effectiveness of cleaning and disinfection efforts.

Waste management and disposal

New Zealand produces over 17 million loads of waste, with only about 28% recycled and the rest sent to landfills. So, why not prioritise effective waste management and disposal to minimise environmental impact and promote sustainability? (3)

Proper waste management is an integral aspect of maintaining cleanliness and hygiene standards in commercial settings. Effective waste disposal not only reduces the risk of contamination but also minimises environmental impact and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements.

Establish clear guidelines for waste segregation, recycling, and disposal in accordance with local regulations and best practices. Provide designated waste bins for different types of waste, such as general waste, recyclables, and hazardous materials.

Implement a regular waste collection schedule to prevent the accumulation of waste and maintain a clean and orderly environment. Make sure that waste storage areas are kept secure and hygienic to prevent pest infestation and odours.

Communication and transparency

Keep occupants informed about cleaning schedules, procedures, and any additional precautions they should observe. Display signage in prominent areas to reinforce hygiene practices and reassure visitors of your commitment to maintaining a clean and safe environment.


By implementing these key health and safety protocols in commercial cleaning, you can not only meet regulatory requirements but also demonstrate your dedication to providing a clean and hygienic space for everyone who enters your premises. Prioritising health and safety in cleaning practices not only protects occupants from potential health hazards but also contributes to overall productivity, morale, and customer satisfaction.

At PPCS, we understand that you’ve many responsibilities as a company owner or manager. That’s why we’re here to lighten your load by taking care of all your commercial cleaning needs. Don’t let cleaning worries distract you and your employees from running the business smoothly. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and experience the difference we can make for your workspace.


  1. “Health and Safety at Work Act 2015”, Source:
  2. “Ministry of Health spent $37m on PPE that was defective or had quality concerns”, Source:
  3. “Government plans to shake-up New Zealand’s ‘inadequate’ waste recycling”, Source: