Janitor safety should be a prime concern for every manager of a cleaning staff. Custodians are such a vital part of making sure that facilities remain clean, safe, and pleasant to be in for occupants. Today, we’re looking at three things you can do to help minimize the risks that janitors face every day.
Have a Robust Training Program. This can include mentorship programs, hands-on training, and multilingual training resources. Manufacturers should have resources you can utilize to help build your training program. For instance, EnvirOx has a Train in Ten™ system that communicates the basics of their cleaning supplies in under ten minutes. This includes wall charts that cover everything from classrooms to libraries to gyms and more. If you’re not already using these training materials, you can contact an EnvirOx representative to inquire about the specific wall charts you need. EnvirOx also offers video training via YouTube. These videos have a Spanish language caption option. You can find videos on our Absolute Cleaning System and our traditional system there.
Have the Right Equipment. Back injuries and shoulder injuries were the leading musculoskeletal disorders facing janitors in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 Making sure equipment is ergonomic and made to tackle the job is one of the keys to avoid the repetitive motions and strains that can lead to these type of injuries. Not every cause of such injuries may be obvious. Be sure to look at the things you might not immediately think of, such as:
- Lighter cleaning carts: Older, heavier cleaning carts can take more effort to maneuver
- Vacuum backpacks: Make sure they are securely strapped on and fitted to the user
- Long-handled or angled tools: These can reach tall or awkward spaces
Use Less Harsh Cleaning Products. Proper training on all cleaning products is necessary, but starting with products that are safer from the start is an even better way of avoiding injury. John Poole of the ISSA recalled an example of how a seemingly simple action can lead to serious injury for a cleaning worker. A cleaning worker sniffed a bottle of product to identify its contents. Unfortunately, the bottle contained ammonia. The worker had to be hospitalized because they suffered severe mucous membrane damage.1 Starting with cleaning products that have lower VOCs ( Volatile Organic Compounds) and/or are green certified is a great way to help prevent chemical-related injuries.
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