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Janitorial & Housekeeping Safety Concerns
Posted on 02/15 by Erin Helms
Behind every sparkling clean office and working environment is a hard-working janitorial and housekeeping staff working tirelessly to keep everything spotless. It’s a dirty job, and you’re the one who will do it! But while you should take pride in your work, it’s equally important you stay aware and alert to the many safety hazards inherent to this job. Here are some safety concerns to keep in mind as you go about your shift.
Lifting heavy objects
Janitorial and housekeeping positions often will have a requirement about being able to lift a certain amount of weight. Whether that’s 10 pounds or 100 pounds, it’s essential to know how to do so safely without injuring yourself or throwing your back out. If your workplace has you lifting heavy objects often, wear supportive shoes and, if needed, a back brace for extra help to prevent injuries. Lift from the knees and try not to twist or make any sudden movements while picking up an object.
Avoid biological wastes and hazards by wearing protective gear
If you’re working in a medical or healthcare environment, be careful when cleaning out red medical waste bins where sharp objects like needles are stored for disposal. Always wear protective gloves when emptying those containers and when working with any fluids or biological compounds that might contain bacteria or other pathogens. Other kinds of protective gear are important in other janitorial and housekeeping jobs, including respirators if you’re working in an environment where aerosols and other chemicals are used; goggles for spaces where debris might be in the air; gloves when cleaning hazardous chemicals and any other equipment recommended by your supervisor.
Be careful around chemicals
In addition to wearing protective equipment when working with chemicals, it’s also important to move chemicals carefully and properly dispose of them. Depending on the compounds, you might be dealing with something that could easily cause a fire or cause burns on your skin or clothes. Become familiar with the warning symbols on all containers you move or utilize regularly to protect yourself from injury.
Avoid slip and falls
If you’re responsible for mopping floors, cleaning spills, or ensuring wet surfaces are dried, you must have the right shoes that provide enough traction to keep you safe and on steady footing. The soles should be slip-resistant and made from heavy, durable weather; the shoes should also be sturdy. Work boots might be required or recommended if you work in a more industrial environment. Slips and falls can lead to all kinds of problems, from bigger spills to injuries to yourself and others.
Be mindful of repetitive motions
Doing the same thing over and over again can be taxing to your muscles. If you’re doing the same job every day and that includes a repetitive motion, like sweeping, vacuuming, dusting or other tasks, be mindful of any aches that might develop in your knees, back, elbows or muscles. Try to break up the monotony by rotating through tasks and not utilizing the same muscle groups for too long a period. It’s also important to take breaks during your shift to allow yourself to rest and recover.
Avoid sustained loud noises
If you’re working in an industrial environment, you might be exposed to loud noises for long periods of time. If that’s the case, you’ll want to keep earplugs in your pocket or protective covers over your ears to protect your hearing -- that’s something you cannot get back! Once your hearing is damaged, it’s damaged.
Other safety considerations
Your workplace might have other hazards to take into consideration and it’s important to listen carefully when given safety training. It’s important to help you protect your coworkers and yourself and it will help you do your job better, to everyone’s benefit.
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Our recruiters at LaborMAX are ready to help put you back to work. If you need help finding a job in janitorial services, or are looking to do something else, our team want to hear from you. Contact us today or browse our online job portal.
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