While it may seem like a fairly low-risk profession, workplace injuries amongst cleaners are more common than you might think – in fact, cleaners are the fifth most commonly injured workforce in the country. These injuries become even more likely among new cleaners who may not have properly familiarized themselves with the equipment and products they use during a day’s work.
In order to reduce the risk of injury, all cleaners should make sure they know exactly how to correctly use their products and equipment before they start. Here’s why this is so important and what you can do to keep yourself safe during a day on the job.
Most Common Workplace Injuries For Cleaners
There are a few different injuries that you may find yourself experiencing as a cleaner if you do not take proper care. Here are the two most common categories of injuries that cleaners have suffered in recent years.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
These are the three most common injuries in many lines of work but are specifically frequent amongst cleaners. The reason for this is that cleaning work leaves so much opportunity for this type of injury to occur. Mopping and buffing floors often leave your work area extremely slippery and the wires attached to electrical equipment such as vacuum cleaners are often tripped over by members of cleaning teams.
A contact injury is any kind of burn or rash caused by skin contact with a hazardous chemical. Many products commonly used by cleaning teams contain some form of hazardous chemicals that could lead to a contact injury – even most brands of household bleach are classed as a corrosive chemical, commonly causing burns and rashes.
Of course, these are by no means the only risks faced by cleaners, just the ones which most commonly lead to injuries.
How Can I Avoid Injuries During My Work As A Cleaner?
Here are a few best practices that you can put to use in order to minimize your risk of injury during a cleaning shift.
Check All Equipment Before Use
Whenever you find yourself needing to use a piece of electrical equipment, always check the equipment first for any outward signs that it could present a health and safety risk. For example, check the wires – make sure there are no holes or tears in the main power wire. If there are any wires exposed, do not plug it in, as this leaves you at risk of electric shock.
Always be wary of using equipment that appears to be very old or outdated – while this may seem inconsequential, old electrical equipment malfunctioning is a common cause of electrical fires.
In many business settings, some equipment should have a sticker or label on them to confirm that they have been routinely tested and are safe to use.
If you find any signs that could indicate that the equipment is not entirely safe to use, notify your manager or another member of your cleaning crew.
Do Your Research
Within your first few weeks as a cleaner, do some research online or ask a team member about the kind of equipment that you are most likely to be asked to use and do your research on how to use this equipment correctly. There are a handful of different pieces of equipment you may be asked to use on a regular basis, especially in a business setting, such as vacuum cleaners, box sweepers, polishing machines, and steam mops, to name just a few.
Familiarizing yourself with this equipment first will leave you with a much better understanding of how to use it correctly and minimize your risk of injury caused by improper use.
Ask Your Team
If you’re a member of a cleaning team, always utilize the knowledge of your team when using equipment that you are unfamiliar with. While it may seem silly having to ask for help with certain pieces of equipment, it’s much better than using them without a good understanding of how they work and causing an injury to yourself.
Don’t forget that everyone else on your team was once new to the job, too, so they will be understanding that some equipment and best practices for using it can be complicated to get to grips with at first.
Don’t Forget Basic Health And Safety
If you’re distracted by trying to get used to an unfamiliar piece of equipment, the basic health and safety practices that you already knew may fall by the wayside a little. Make sure you don’t let this happen, as this further increases the risk of injury to you, a member of your cleaning team or even a client walking around the area that you are working in.
One prime example of this is to always remember to leave some form of sign to indicate when you are using a piece of equipment with a long wire, as this can quickly become a dangerous trip hazard.
Similarly, continue to exercise other precautionary measures, such as wearing rubber gloves when working with chemicals, a mask whilst working with chemicals that could cause harm if inhaled, and using caution signs to warn others of wet floors or other slip hazards.
If you take these precautions, we’re sure you’ll be better prepared to prevent injuries on the job, making you a more reliable and valuable Cleaning Professional in the long run.