How janitors can avoid workplace injuries

Janitors are vital to our workforce and society at large. Custodians and housekeepers keep our offices, schools, museums and hospitals clean. Without janitorial workers, our society would not be nearly as clean or healthy. Sadly, cleaning employees are often not valued.

Many people, including employers of janitors, overlook the risks facing the cleaning industry. Janitorial work can be physically demanding and involve harmful chemicals. These hazards can lead to injuries, illnesses and death. Below are some safety guidelines so janitors can avoid workplace accidents.

Use proper lifting techniques

Janitorial employees often need to lift heavy tools and pieces of equipment. This can result in muscle sprains and back injuries. Workers should bend at the knees while lifting objects from the floor and avoid twisting their backs. When possible, janitors should seek help for lifting and carrying heavy loads. 

Wear slip-resistant footwear

Many cleaning employees wear tennis shoes or other types of soft footwear. This usually does not provide adequate traction or protection. Janitors encounter slippery floors all the time, which means the best type of shoe or boot is one that is slip-resistant. 

Practice good posture

Due to the fact that janitors perform strenuous tasks all day, such as pushing carts and using mops, it is crucial to maintain proper posture. For example, holding mops lightly and cleaning in a rhythmic motion can help avoid muscle strains. 

Wear gloves and safety glasses

One core duty for janitors is using chemical cleaners. Contact with chemicals can cause skin irritation, eye injuries and respiratory issues. All janitors should wear the proper safety equipment to avoid this. Additionally, all cleaning employees should wash their hands before eating so they do not ingest any chemicals.

Follow instructions on chemical labels

Some chemicals have strict directions and warnings on their labels. Every janitor should thoroughly read and adhere to all these instructions. Common directions include diluting a strong chemical or ensuring there is proper ventilation.