How do I complain about unpleasant odours? - ACTU Australian Unions
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How do I complain about unpleasant odours?

Eva asks: I am a cleaner and we clean toilets and showers. In the spare toilet block we keep chemicals and cleaning equipment and there is toilet water leaking all over that has a horrible odour to it. This water lies around for days sometimes weeks and we have to walk through it to get to the cleaning products and mops. I’m really worried about health issues and possibly contracting something. I have made complaints to management but they will not listen.

Good on you for trying to alert your management to this. Apart from being really unpleasant, this situation raises all sorts of health and safety concerns.

It’s simply not good enough that your management doesn’t listen to your concerns. They have a duty of care towards their staff which means they are bound by law to make sure the workplace is as safe as it possibly can be for you all and that staff aren’t exposed to unnecessary risk or danger.

It also makes me wonder in what other ways they’re failing to look after you all. Do they give you rubber gloves? A place to wash your hands with soap, hot water and clean towels? Are you provided with non-slip boots if you’re working in wet areas? I’d lay money on the answer to all of those questions being “No”.

Are any of you members of a union? If so give them a call immediately. If not, I strongly encourage you to give our advice line a call on 1300 486 466. Our organisers can discuss with you strategies such as electing an OHS representative to go to management with these concerns (OHS reps have certain rights and protections under law).

Have you spoken to the workplace safety agency? When you contact us we can give you the number for you’re the agency in your state.

It sounds from your email that there are a few of you who do this job. Start to act collectively.

If you’re not members of a union think about joining – our team can help you with that when you call.

You shouldn’t have to work in these conditions and it makes me very angry that your boss expects you to do so. Would he or she put up with it in their home? No – and neither should you have to.

I hope we get to speak to you soon.


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