There are several janitorial workers offering services in homes, schools and offices. Even though their job appears simple, it isn’t as simple as it looks. There are many hazards associated with this job.
Janitorial workers or janitors are cleaning employees or housekeepers of offices, schools and homes. Imagine our life without their services! Janitorial job is all about keeping our working and living environment clean and hygienic. Their contribution to the society, in leading a healthy life is much appreciated. People often consider their job easy, but only a person serving as a janitorial worker will know how difficult and hazardous their job is. As janitors put in all their effort in providing us a clean living space, it is the duty of the employers to take care of the safety needs of the workers.
Janitorial workers are subjected to various physical and chemical hazards. Physical hazards include use of heavy equipment for cleaning, constantly lifting things, bending often etc., while chemical hazards are due to the use of strong chemicals for cleaning purposes. These hazards may lead to severe injury to a person and may also cause a life-long damage. So, what is it that the employers need to take care of, to ensure proper safety of the janitors? Here are a few tips to minimize the risks of hazards and accidents.
Janitorial Safety Tips
Following are the tips to be followed to avert a hazardous situation;
- Cleaning locations may vary, if a janitor is associated with a company offering cleaning services to various institutions. In such a case, janitorial workers need to drive through their way to offer their services. Workers should follow safe driving to ensure their safety and avoid road accidents. If a worker is driving the company’s vehicle, it is the duty of the company to ensure that the vehicle is safe for driving. A vehicle safety rule book should be handed over to the drivers to go through, before using the company vehicle so as to make himself aware of the company policy for safe driving.
- Lifting heavy equipment is a very common task for janitorial workers. Proper lifting techniques must be used to escape back injuries and muscle sprains. Workers must practice bending the keens while lifting things from the floor and avoid twisting and turning the back.
- Short breaks between work will help in relieving stress due to continuous working.
- When lifting heavy equipment, workers must take help and avoid carrying the load all alone, as it may adversely affect the body and cause injury. Lift belts can also be used while lifting heavy loads or furniture.
- Workers should have separate shoes for work that have rubber soles for proper grip on the floor
- Falling and slipping can be avoided by placing a warning sign on the wet floor and ensuring no one walks on it.
- Housekeeping carts help in carrying load and cleaning equipment from one place to the other. They must be in a smooth-moving condition. Workers must lean forward while pushing the carts. Well maintained carts prove really helpful in decreasing workload of the janitors.
- Cleaning flooring is one of the main duties of janitorial workers. As it is a continuous process, workers must maintain proper body posture while mopping the floors. The mops can be held lightly and cleaning can be done in a rhythmical motion to avoid tiring.
- Equipment like vacuum cleaners and floor machines must be used, when few people are around. The wiring and electrical fittings of these equipment must be checked everyday before use, to avoid electric shocks and other hazards due to electricity.
- Using hand gloves and safety glasses will ensure safety of hands and eyes. Workers must wash their hands properly before eating so that germs and harmful chemicals do not enter their body via food
- Strong chemicals are used for cleaning. It is essential to go through the instruction leaflet before using such chemicals. Concentrated liquids should be diluted carefully and in a proper ratio. While using concentrated chemicals, enough ventilation must be there to avoid inhalation of harmful fumes of the chemicals.
- Garbage bags can contain anything from blood stained needles to sharp glass pieces. These can hurt the worker if not disposed properly. It is therefore advised to carry garbage bags using hand gloves and away from the body.
Janitorial Safety Training
It is the responsibility of the employers of janitorial workers to ensure enough safety of their employees. It is important to conduct janitorial safety training sessions for the employees. Whenever a new employee joins this job, his first and foremost need is a proper training that provides him sufficient knowledge for his own safety, the safety of his colleagues and other people. Such a training will help in preventing unwanted accidents and hazards. A Janitorial Safety Training Program is designed at University of California as a part of Worker Occupational Safety and Health Training and Education Program. This training program is designed for employers with small businesses who want to provide janitorial training to their employees who work alone or in small groups. This program helps the employers as well as the employees in maintaining safety in their working environment.
The incidence of accidents is one of the highest among janitorial workers. They work really hard to maintain cleanliness all around. Every person must be thankful to janitors and one way to be thankful to them is to responsibly ensure a safe working environment for them. As our well-being is somehow related to them, their safety should be our concern.