The janitorial industry is by no means free from health hazards. Most cleaning personnel engage in their routines without ever thinking about the risks of the chemicals they use, the repetitive motion involved in their tasks, or pathogens they’re exposed to.
To make sure your cleaning staff is doing all they can to stay healthy and safe, remind them of the following important guidelines!
Cleaning professionals often experience injury from repetitive movements. One way to alleviate musculoskeletal discomfort and injury is to break long periods of repetitive-motion tasks into shorter blocks whenever possible.
Long periods of standing can also contribute to discomfort, as can awkward positions that are caused from using the wrong equipment. Making sure to use only the appropriate tools for each task is very important for a comfortable posture and good health. For example, your employees should use extension poles rather than overreaching. And to avoid back strain, it’s important not to bend down for prolonged periods. Constant bending can cause stress injuries and chronic pain. It’s also very important to encourage your employees to wear back support and supportive shoes when appropriate.
Using chemicals safely is vital to the health of your staff, so make sure they are thoroughly trained in the mixing and storing of your facility’s chemicals. One common example of misuse is altering the way a chemical is dispensed. Chemical products with pour spouts should not be attached to spray heads, for example, because inhaling aerosol vapors can be dangerous over time. Another common mistake is to mix bleach with ammonia, which can be fatal. Also remember that water is often the only liquid suitable for diluting a cleaning product.
Although often overlooked, it’s important for all custodial staff to wash their hands before and after putting on gloves. Hand washing reduces incidences of infection by organisms that are present before putting gloves on. When hand washing isn’t possible, your staff should use a hand sanitizer that won’t damage their gloves.
Slip and Fall Safety
Slip and fall accidents are a big problem in the janitorial industry. There are many ways to reduce incidences of this kind of injury, but one of the most effective precautions is to practice good housekeeping in the first place. Examples include marking spills and cleaning them immediately, removing obstacles from walkways, and taping mats that don’t lay flat. Besides good housekeeping practices, it’s also important for your employees to wear slip-resistant shoes.
Here are a couple of items we recommend.