Whether the work is in schools, hotels or business offices, janitors face many hazards while on the job. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18,860 building cleaners and janitors reported workplace injuries in 2019. Many of these injuries resulted in costly medical care and time away from work.
Watching for the following hazards may help prevent some of the most frequent injuries.
1. Wet floors
Janitors can spend considerable time mopping and waxing floors and cleaning spills off the ground. These duties leave behind slick surfaces making it easy to slip and fall. Employees might experience broken bones, head injuries and spinal trauma from these accidents, leading to a lengthy time away from work.
2. Repetitive movements
Polishing floors is not the only project janitors routinely do. Most cleaning tasks require hard scrubbing, bending and repetitive motions to get the job done. Performing the same movements for extended times causes stress to muscles, tendons and joints, leading to sprains, inflammation and strains. These painful injuries make it difficult to perform the required work duties.
3. Toxic chemicals
Janitorial work also exposes employees to dangerous chemicals. Solutions such as bleach and other liquid cleaners are essential tools janitors use to sanitize and clean most surfaces. These products can release vapors that harm workers’ lungs and eyes and may burn their skin. Proper protective gear is necessary to help prevent severe reactions, but spills in enclosed areas or of large amounts can cause life-threatening reactions.
Working as a janitor means employees may not always be able to avoid workplace hazards. Should an accident occur, injured workers can file a claim with their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance to pay for medical bills and lost wages.