Scottish Parliament Cleaners to get living wageCleaners at the Scottish Parliament are to receive the National Living Wage, taking their income to £7.85 per hour. Currently cleaners get the National Minimum Wage, which is £6.50 per hour, giving cleaners directly employed by Holyrood a £1.35 per hour increase.

Initially the change will only affect 26 staff, including cleaners and caterers, however from next year those employed via contractors will also be included. The increase wage also means the Scottish Government will be accredited as a living wage employer.

The change was announced by Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick, she said,

“I am delighted that – as an employer – the parliament has moved to ensure the Living Wage guarantee now extends to all staff who work directly at the parliament.

“The cost of meeting this commitment is relatively small in financial terms but is hugely symbolic to employees and employers alike.

“Ensuring that employees receive decent pay and conditions is the hallmark of a good employer and I hope that our decision will encourage other organisations across Scotland to make the same commitment to their staff.”

The current Scottish Living Wage is based on the cost to live, taking inflation into account, making it financially easier for Holyrood cleaners to live. The increase will also have a positive effect on the Scottish cleaning industry in general, with a greater emphasise on improving the wages  of cleaners.

Last month Inverclyde Council announced they will begin paying all of its staff the National Living Wage, despite being on of the smallest councils.They are first council to implement the new living wage.

The council now employs 750 people who will receive the increased pay, which was back dated to November, when the Living Wage was set.

Council leader Stephen McCabe said:

“The Living Wage pays a fair rate for low paid workers. Now the national rate has increased it is right we reflect that in the money paid to our lowest paid workers.

Cost for Commercial Cleaning

There’s an argument to be made that paying the Living Wage to cleaners will make them more productive in their job and help organisations retain employees for longer.


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Washroom Hygiene StudyA new study has revealed office workers spend an average of 1 working week every year in the company washroom.

The study of 6,000 office workers was carried out by Initial Washroom Hygiene which found 41 hours was spent over the course of a year in the washroom.

The study into washroom hygiene and habits also revealed 27% of office workers didn’t wash their hands every time they visited the toilet.

Dr Peter Barratt, Initial Hygiene Technical Director said:

“It may sound like a terrible pun but businesses and employees alike can’t just wash their hands of the issue. As the flu and Norovirus season looms on the horizon, we all need to take more responsibility to improve our hand hygiene.

“Employers need to ensure the right facilities are available as well as providing plenty of soap, sanitising gels and hand drying equipment. It’s a small investment, but as the research shows, improved hygiene in the office can have a big impact on levels of job satisfaction, which in turn helps businesses to succeed.”

Something which was alarming from the study was the number of people using their mobile to surf the internet, with 9.8% admitting to using it.

Using a mobile in the toilet will increase the risk of spreading germs because the vast majority of people are unlikely to clean their phone when finished.

Oak Industrial have a number of simple techniques and tips we offer clients to help reduce the risk of spreading germs between workers.

Washroom Hygiene Tips

  1. Place A Sign – putting up a sign may seem like an over oversimplification but we have found it can be enough to make employees feel like it’s something they should be doing.
  2. Refill Hand Wash – Always having hand wash available is of course the most important part of stopping germs spreading.
  3. Keep Washroom Clean – It never ceases to amaze us how much difference a clean washroom can make to employees washing their hands or keeping good general hygiene.
  4. Bins – Having bins spread around the office can stop people from having to travel across the room with dirty tissues or other infected items.
  5. Regular Inspections – Inspecting your toilets on a regular basis and making sure any hygiene threats are dealt with quickly is vital.
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Street Cleaning in Coatbridge A man in Coatbridge, Glasgow has become so fed up with the litter in his area he has taken on the responsibility of cleaning the streets himself.

John Agnew, 63 said he is tired of the liter in his area, especially on Gartsherrie Road where there is busy shops and a primary school.

“I moved to my home in Frederick Street 15 years ago and this problem with litter has existed ever since.

“Every single day you see the area outside the shops on Gartsherrie Road covered in litter.

“And it’s not for the want of trying by the shop owners as they put bins there.

Mr Agnew is in no doubt about where the liter problem stems from and believes the pupils are fully responsible,

“But the school pupils just ignore them and during lunchtimes it’s like a bomb site as they just throw their rubbish everywhere; they are making a mess of the area.

“Their disgusting habit has continued despite police passing by and community wardens walking through the area — nothing seems to be able to curb it.

“It’s so bad I have even cleaned it up myself, along with my partner’s grandson, or lifted rubbish and took it home to put in the bin.

“But I shouldn’t have to take these steps and the council could save some money on clean-up operations and road sweeping vehicles by going and educating these kids better on littering.

“Why not try and have the schools encourage or educate the younger members of the community on the environmental benefits of taking home rubbish or using the appropriate bins where provided?

“These pupils should also realise the cost implications of their willingness to pollute the area.”

Earlier this year, a charity step up to help deal with litter and waste around Scotland said the problem is costing the country £100m every year.

Chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, Derek Robertson said,

“There’s a cost to the environment generally – and in terms of how Scotland might appear to visitors.

“I would imagine it must be in the region of £100m.

“Money is being spent on cleaning up the country when in fact it could be much better spent elsewhere.”

Cleaning streets isn’t something most people are willing to take responsibility for, with the majority likely to argue that is what council tax is for.

However Mr Agnew has clearly seen the issue are something which needs addressing quickly and is unwilling to wait for it to be sorted by the council.

Mark Findlay, environmental protection manager for North Lanarkshire Council said they are working closely with the school to resolve the problem.

“We have delivered education programmes, including a DVD targeted at secondary school age pupils, to make them aware of the consequences of dropping litter and encourage them to be responsible citizens.

“We have also carried out joint patrols with community police officers and letters were sent to the parents of any pupils caught dropping litter.

“We appreciate the distress that litter causes to local residents and our street cleaning teams carry out litter picks immediately after lunchtime.


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Vacuum TrendsThe AEG Global Vacuuming Survey 2013 has revealed the latest vacuum cleaning trends from around the world.

According to the survey Koreans use Vacuums more than any other nationality with 11% admitting to using them more than once per day.

Time Spent Vacuuming

While they clean more often, Koreans were also the quickest cleaners with 68% of users in the country vacuuming for less than 30 mins each time.

People in Brazil spent more time vacuuming than any other country with 22% spending between 1-2 hours each time, followed by Portugal at 20%.

Vacuuming Time Of Day

The most common time of day to vaccum is the morning with 38% choosing to clean early, followed by 28% in the afternoon and only 9% in the evening.

Colombians vacuum more in the morning than any other nation with 82% preferring that time of day, while 16% of Chinese prefer the evening time.

While Vacuuming

36% of those asked said they listened to music while vacuuming which was the most common activity, while 16% of Chinese said they problem solve.

Most likely to dance while vaccuming is 18-30 years olds (51%) and Columbians (67%) with Japanese only dancing 8% in comparison and 51+ 19%.

What’s Important When Buying A Vacuum

How people choose to buy a new vacuum cleaner also varies considerably with 30% globally stating dust pick-up was the single biggest factor. The second is power/wattage at 16%, followed by quality/durability (15%).

57% of Chinese said the amount dust a vacuum picks up is the most important, although only 7% of Colombians and French agree with them.

UK vacuum users are most annoyed by low dust pick up than most countries with 24% saying this was their greatest issue with vacuums.

Not surprisingly then the most important factor for UK users is dust pick with 45% saying this is their main concern, above the 30% global average.

What This Tells Us

This survey shows us how vacuum companies are likely to start targeting consumers around the world with new products and designs to fit their needs.

The UK are obviously willing to accept noise over large dust pick-up so therefore it would make sense that is it has to be one over the other noise will stay.

Erik Mulders, head of floorcare UK, Electrolux said,

“The results of this survey show just how diverse consumer wants and needs around the world are, and how essential it is that we know and understand them. Consumer insight is the basis for all product development at Electrolux and plays a vital role in ensuring we can continue to develop products that meet consumer needs, where ever they are in the world.”

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Good hygiene could cause Alzheimer’s  A new study by the University of Cambridge has found Alzheimer’s disease could be caused by better hygiene in developed nations.

The study found people who lived in industrialised, wealthier nations were more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and a lack of bacteria could be the reason.

In wealthier nations there is less contact with bacteria and viruses, leading to a weaker immune system and higher risk of brain inflammation.

Lead author of the study, Dr Molly Fox, said,

 “The ‘hygiene hypothesis’, which suggests a relationship between cleaner environments and a higher risk of certain allergies and autoimmune diseases, is well established. We believe we can now add Alzheimer’s to this list of diseases.”

“There are important implications for forecasting future global disease burden, especially in developing countries as they increase in sanitation.”

In countries with clean drinking water and higher sanitation the rate of Alzheimer’s disease increases 9%, compared to countries where less than half have access to these facilities.

Countries with lower rates of infectious diseases there is a 12% increase in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s compared to countries with higher rates.

With 50% of all Alzheimer’s patients living in the developed world studies such as this have been trying to find out the connection between the two.

Dr Fox said,

“The increase in adult life expectancy and Alzheimer’s prevalence in developing countries is perhaps one of the greatest challenges of our time. Today, more than 50% of people with Alzheimer’s live in the developing world, and by 2025 it is expected that this figure will rise to more than 70%,”

“A better understanding of how environmental sanitation influences Alzheimer’s risk could open up avenues for both lifestyle and pharmaceutical strategies to limit Alzheimer’s prevalence. An awareness of this by-product of increasing wealth and development could encourage the innovation of new strategies to protect vulnerable populations from Alzheimer’s.”

Hygiene is just one possible reason for developed nations having weaker immune systems and while the study didn’t consider these it’s worth thinking about.

For example the same developed nations also have higher rates of vaccination which would also affect the immune system as well as antibiotics.

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Hospital CleaningBasildon Hospital has been ordered to pay £350,000 after two patients died and another 6 were infected with Legionnaires’ disease due to hospital cleaning cut backs.

The hospital cut spending on chemical treatment of the water system in 2007 in what has been described as an “inappropriate cost saving measure”.

Specific hospital cleaning measures were ignored, such as shower heads and thermostatic values not being cleaned properly which should be standard procedure.

Prosecutor Pascal Bates said during the trial,

“This wasn’t a situation where for a brief period of time the hospital followed advice from a particular consultant which later turned out to be wrong.

“This was a lengthy period of time during which the hospital fell short of its responsibilities and failed its patients.

“In the 2002 case, specific problems, including not taking fully into account the findings of risk assessments, were identified and those remain characteristics of the more recent cases.”

In 2007 James Compton, 74, died after contracting Legionnaires’ disease, while Raymond Cackett, 54, from South Ockendon died from the disease in 2010.

The hospital admitted to it’s failings under the Health and Safety at Work Act and have also said they accept the fine imposed by the judge.

Hospital chief executive Clare Panniker said,

“The hospital would wish to extend its apology publicly, particularly for the deaths of Mr Compton and Mr Cackett, but also to those who acquired Legionnaires’ disease but did not die.

“The trust acknowledges it failed to provide a safe environment but this has not been through a want of effort, funds or desire.”

Hospital cleaning is something which cannot be cut back on and it’s extremely important specific steps are taken to protect patients and visitors.

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Whenever i use a washroom which uses unique sinks it adds a subtle but important element to my experience with the company which uses them.

It may only be a small detail but there is nothing like a unique washroom sink to make you feel like your using a quality service or product.

In my experience a washroom can say a lot about it’s owners and so when someone has taken the time to find and install a unique sink it shows attention to detail.

Here are some of my personal favourite washroom sinks

Ammonite Washbasin Sink

Created by Cloakroom Solutions, the Ammonite Washbasin sink has a unique swirl effect which and it’s sized can be customised between 1200mm to 3000mm.

It’s also possible to get it in difference colours and the tap can either be wall mounted such as in the pictures above or the standard deckmounted tap.

The Family Basin

Vitra have created possibly the greatest sink for families, The Family Basin is perfect for any washroom which is likely to be used by a lot of families.

As the picture above shows the Family Basin has been made so children and parents can wash their hands at the same time, with a specially designed space for towels.

The Motif Basin

The Motif Basin has a glass bottom with pebble stones underneath giving it a spectacular bright look. This washroom sink is perfect for high quality restaurants, spas etc.

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Government to tackle Scottish LitterThe Scottish Government have announced plans to tackle the country’s £78 million litter problem and keep streets clean.

Research found the cost of dealing litter across Scotland reached nearly £80m per year between £53m spending cleaning it up and £25m spent on it’s external affects.

The draft by the government has been named “Towards a Litter Free Scotland” and it could mean fines for littering or fly tipping are increased.

Under current plans the government aims to,

  • Increase communication, education and support for business
  • Providing/servicing bins, product design, guidance and future funding
  • Improve the effectiveness of legislation and training

The plans were discussed at a national litter submit in Edinburgh where Environment Secretary Mr Richard Lochhead said,

“Scotland really is a beautiful country and in this Year of Natural Scotland we want to do all that we can to show it at its best. Let’s not miss this huge opportunity to show the Scotland’s magnificence.

“I want our National Litter Strategy to achieve a clean, safe environment for people who live in and visit Scotland – where littering is no longer acceptable. The strategy we consult on will be a package of measures to encourage people not to litter or flytip. Today’s attendees will help shape our proposals which will also include how education and infrastructure can support clean, safe communities.

“Litter costs local authorities, transport providers and other businesses millions to clean up – and we all pay for it. We can each take personal responsibility for disposing of waste responsibly and avoid this unnecessary and expensive eyesore.

“I encourage councils and the police to use their existing powers to issue litter and flytipping FPNs and I will consult on whether it would be helpful if the level was raised from £50. Over the next few months we will work with local authorities and others to identify what the consultation should propose.”

The Scottish government also wants to tackle marine litter which costs £16m per year but also threatens Scotland’s wifelife and coastlines.

Plans to deal with marine litter include introducing the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which was created by the European Commission.

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We’ve just completed a number of washroom services quotes for current and potential new customers. They vary from daily washroom cleaning, vending supplies, providing washroom products and water management support. Every washroom services quote is different and should be reviewed annually to make sure a business is as financially efficient as possible.

Washroom Services Quote

When it comes to changing washroom services provider the first task is to request a quotation on a like-for-like basis. There are various reasons to change your washroom services provider, as well as reasons to stick with your current provider, we’ve listed some of the reasons we’ve heard before.

Reasons to change washroom provider?

  1. Poor service: Customer service is essential and being ready at a short notice can be the difference for some businesses between remaining with an existing washroom services company.
  2. High costs: If costs continue to increase annually you should query these and question whether you’re really getting value for money.
  3. People: The expression “people buy from people” is true. If a company has changed hands, management has been replaced or valuable staff have left then you may leave the company too.
  4. Quality of products used: Often people find the quality of products used in the washroom don’t meet their expected standards.

Reasons to stay with washroom provider?

  1. Exellent Support: You may stay with an existing washroom  provider because their support is outstanding.
  2. Flexible: A flexible washroom services provider is worth keeping because they will care for your business when you need them most.
  3. Affordable Price: The price is affordable and you feel you’re getting a valuable service can help make the decision to stay with an existing washroom service provider.

In any event, you should get a quotation to compare the level of service, price and support. If you can save money and get the same service then it’s often worthwhile changing company. Newly established companies often try to undercut larger suppliers, which is a false economy because they can’t manage the project. Select a supplier that understands your business, can provide a competitive washroom services quote and deliver on their promises.

Annual Renewal Washroom Quote

If you’ve recently received your annual renewal quotation for your washroom then take some time to search and ensure you’re receiving value for money. We provide free, no oligation washroom services quotations. As soon as we receive your enquiry we’ll have a discussion with you to understand your expectations, budget and business washroom requirements.

If it’s time to renew your washroom services contract please consider giving us a call. We’ve been providing washroom services for businesses since 1995 and help companies across the UK, from SMEs to multi-national corporations.

Quick Quote for Washroom Supplies

Many people don’t realise that we provide washroom services in-house and that our supplies are provided directly from Oak Industrial. If you would like a quick quote for any washroom services please complete the enquiry form below and we’ll be back in touch shortly.

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A colleague at Oak Industrial recently escaped from a block of flats which was on fire. The neighbour had left a cigarette burning on a bed and the property became engulfed in smoke and the fire began to spread throughout the flat. The fire brigade had to carry the neighbour to safety as he was trapped in the flat.

ThankfFire-damage-cleaningully everybody was OK! He sent us some pictures of the stairwells after the event.

Fire Damage in Scotland – No Factor

Most properties in Scotland will have a factor who manages the communal areas. We work with a number of different factors to provide stairwell cleaning and tenancy cleaning services after a tenant has moved out. However, in some cases there is no factor. So, what happens?

Well, if there is no tenant then the onus falls on the residents to get together and organise the cleaning. This will ultimately depend on the split between council / housing association and private tenants. In the case of our colleague, the block of flats is split 50 / 50 between social tenants and private rental (or homeowners).

If the split is more in favour of housing association / council tenants then the housing association or council will take the initiative and start the cleaning. If the properties are predominantly private, then you can start the process and get quotations from companies to begin the cleaning. Each homeowner would be responsible for their share of the cleaning and if there were any social housing tenants the council/ housing association would pay for their tenant’s share of the cleaning.

Quotes For Fire Damage

Our colleague is taking 2 weeks off work to help resolve his fire damaged property and the stairwells have had an interim clean to remove the ash and dirt from the walls.

We can provide quotations to clean up after fire damage for homeowners or factors. If you would like our help please leave your details on our quick quote page and we’ll call you back.

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