Top 5 Ways to Protect Custodians on the Job

by EnvirOx
Top 5 Ways to Protect Custodians on the Job

As a manager of a facility or BSC, part of your job is making sure your employees are supported and safe. There’s no denying the statistics when it comes to on-the-job injuries for janitorial workers, either. It’s one of the top 5 jobs in the US in which a worker is likely to sustain an injury.1 While these injuries are not often life-threatening, they can impact workers for a long time. Here are five great ways to help protect custodial workers on the job:

5. Train, Train, Train

Have a thorough training program set up ahead of time, and make sure to follow through with every new employee. Even experienced employees could use a refresher on the best safety practices. All employees should understand the potential hazards of all the cleaning supplies and equipment they are using and the best methods to use to avoid them. Cutting down the number of cleaning products you use is one great way to streamline this, as Lee Fox of Illinois State University shared in our recent case study.

4. Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls

This is one of those areas where improving your cleaning methods and products to help your client also helps your staff! For more detail on how to combat slippery floors, you can read the blog we dedicated to the topic. The key here is to remember that although you protect people by putting slipping hazard signs out, cleaning employees still have to be on slippery surfaces themselves to do their job. So, preventing the slipperiness in the first place helps make the cleaning staff safer.

3. When it Comes to Discomfort, Don’t Just Suck It Up

One of the bigger culprits of injury can actually be backpack vacuums. If people of different sizes are using the same vacuum, it can lead to discomfort and eventual long-term back and shoulder injuries. Make sure employees understand how to adjust the fit of these backpacks to their individual needs, and make sure they do it every shift if someone else is using the pack. Another solution is to issue individual packs for each staff member, but that's not always financially possible.

2. The Little Things Matter

There’s a lot of talk about ergonomics in the workplace when it comes to office workers. The positioning of keyboards, monitors, the height of chairs, and much more are all considered. But it’s not something that is thought of as regularly for cleaning workers. That doesn't make it any less critical. The University of Washington has been looking into ergonomics when it comes to janitorial staff, and they are working on projects like more ergonomic tools for janitors. But they've already found solutions to issues that you can implement now, such as putting magnets on bathroom stall doors that keep the stall doors open.2 This means that staff doesn't have to keep the door propped open with their hip while cleaning.

1. Safer from The Start

The importance of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) is often stressed, and it is a huge part of keeping employees safe. Especially in the custodial field, where workers have to work with chemicals that can be corrosive, have harsh fumes, and cause injury if they touch worker’s skin. So PPE is always a must… but what about using cleaning products that are much safer and greener right from the start? This is one of the main reasons why EnvirOx exists. Patrick Stewart, who created H2Orange2, wanted to create a product with reduced toxicity. As our President Diana Stewart recently reaffirmed in a recent blog post:

Safer, healthier, and environmentally preferable options let custodians do their essential work and do it well, without sacrificing their health.

  1. Charpentier, Will. "Safety Hazard Analysis of Custodial Jobs." Work - Chron.com. Retrieved from http://work.chron.com/safety-hazard-analysis-custodial-jobs-11461.html
  2. Wissel, P. (2018). “Janitors Have One Of The Highest On-The-Job Injury Rates Of Any Workers." KNKX.org. Retrieved from https://www.knkx.org/post/janitors-have-one-highest-job-injury-rates-any-workers

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