Common Safety Practices for Facility Cleaning
Facility cleaning crews face many unique risks every day on the job. When we think about risk management and the dangerous exposures in any industry, we tend to gravitate towards the larger risks in play. The larger risks being things like theft, employee dishonesty, or accidents that cause serious injuries or death.
The fact of the matter is that there are many less severe risks, particularly in the facility cleaning and maintenance line of business, that need to be properly mitigated as well. They may not seem like much, but they are much more common than the serious exposures we hear so much about.
Some common janitorial risks that can be easily mitigated include:
Lifting should be done by bending the knees and not twisting or turning the back. Lift belts should be worn when moving heavy equipment or furniture. Slide materials to the back of a truck before attempting to lift them. Items should not be lifted over truck walls or tailgates.
Slips and Falls
Employees should wear rubber soled shoes that have good traction. Look for obstructions, boxes, furniture, etc. that may be in the way before starting to work. Never leave cleaning tools, supplies or trash bags in walkways. Spills should be cleaned up immediately. Place hazard signs out in areas before cleaning floors or stairs with chemicals or damp mops. The edges of floor mats should lie flat on the floor.
Safety On Stairs
When using stairs employees should use hand rails. Employees should not carry anything on stairs unless they can see over the object they are carrying. Avoid running up or down the stairs. Broken hand rails should be reported to a supervisor.
Less serious exposures like these are easy to fore-go when speaking of mitigating risk in the maintenance and cleaning industry because they seem like common sense. The problem is that the more minor risks like these tend to be not taken as seriously as a chemical hazard or illness, but they can still cause injury to an employee that will render him/her unable to work.
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