According to a leading commercial cleaning company, Britain’s office kitchens are a haven for filth and disease and as a result, could be putting employees at risk.
A survey of UK office workers shows that many kitchen spaces haven’t been properly cleaned in weeks or months, and are often piled high with dirty mugs and plates.
The firm has found that many companies overlook the staff kitchen and have no deep cleaning policy for the area, or simply assume that a self-appointed ‘kitchen rep’ will run a cloth over the dirtiest surfaces every now and then.
Mark Hall, a spokesperson for ContractCleaning.co.uk, stated:
“Staff-run kitchen areas are a true horror story and a food poisoning outbreak waiting to happen. In many cases, we find that nobody’s sure who’s actually in charge of these areas, which means that nobody takes responsibility.”
The survey asked office workers when was the last time their staff kitchen was thoroughly cleaned. The results were alarming:
- Within the last week 2%
- Within the last month 5%
- Within the last three months 11%
- Within the last year 15%
- Never 30%
- Don’t know 37%
Asked if there was a specific person in charge of the kitchen area and did they know who it was, produced a similar set of results:
- Yes, and I know who it is 3%
- Yes, and I don’t know who it is 15%
- No, there isn’t 18%
- Don’t know 64%
“The major problem with staff kitchens is that they fall into a strange no-man’s land of responsibility. Often a particular staff member is appointed ‘kitchen rep’, but their enthusiasm soon wanes and the only evidence they exist is a smudged cleaning check list on the fridge door. “
Furthermore, the firm notes that the office fridge, often housing out-of-date food and the office microwave, caked in the remnants of the food cooked in them, are the number one and number two filth magnets in any staff kitchen, which rarely – if ever – get cleaned.
Hall explains this potential public health problem is easily solved:
“A regular kitchen clean and a ruthless fridge clear-out is money well spent by an office manager, and it could save a health and safety prosecution one day.”