Keeping cleaning staff safe and injury free is important to the health and success of your team.
When cleaning staff are absent from work due to injury, the cleaning falls on co-workers or does not get done. This can lead to facilities that are dirty, which has ramifications as well.
A dirty facility can negatively impact customers and building patron or lead to dirt and debris disrupting the quality of products and goods in industrial and manufacturing settings, for example.
Some of the most common safety issues across industries are:
Many of these injuries can be prevented when staff have the proper knowledge and training. That is why it is important to take action and keep your team safe.
Part of creating a clean and safe environment is having a safety plan. It is important to review this information with cleaning staff multiple times throughout the year—especially if new staff members have been added to the team.
Since cleaning and safety go hand in hand, your cleaning plan should address safety issues throughout—this way staff know why it is important to follow specific steps.
Here are a few things your cleaning and safety plan should address:
Regular training is key to keeping cleaning staff safe. As we learned from Covid 19, protocols for the proper way to clean specific environments can change.
For example, in hospitals it is important for cleaning teams to clean from the top to the bottom of a room. This way if germs, bacteria, or viruses are present in the room, it will make its way towards the floor as cleaning occurs.
Cleaning floors last helps to ensure that any bacteria or viruses stirred up can be cleaned off the floor last, helping to reduce the spread of infection to people.
It is also important to provide staff with information on the PPE or proper protective items to wear whether it is rubber gloves or face masks, protecting the skin and eyes is crucial.
And, depending on the environment, it may be important to review cleaning protocols for different types of machinery. Industrial and manufacturing facilities operate large and sometimes dangerous machines.
Training and reminding staff to be safe around machinery is important to their overall health.
According to Janitorial Manager some of the leading causes of workplace injuries come from needing to rush to get the work done (91% of respondents agreed) and not having enough time to get the work done (17% of respondents agreed).
The correlation here is that due to increased responsibilities, cleaning staff rush to get through their task lists, and this results in feeling like they do not have time to get the work done.
Rushing to get work done and feeling under pressure can result in injuries of all kinds. Slip and falls, mixing wrong chemicals which can lead to breathing or skin irritations, and even lifting equipment improperly which can lead to straining muscles.
Beyond that, rushing can lead to a job not done well.
According to Ergonomic Trends “1.8 million workers are afflicted by RSIs per year, with around 600,000 of those people taking time off from work to recuperate.”
While RSIs are only one example of injuries experienced by workers, these injuries can have a substantial impact. Not only are people affected, but business is affected too.
Without cleaning staff on hand to make sure a facility is clean and safe, other parts of the business, like the perception of clean and even safety of customers, can be impacted. Each of these things has the potential to negatively affect the success of a business if not handled carefully.