Workplace accidents: The hazards faced by janitorial workers


Workers in all industries are vulnerable, and although certain sectors like construction and manufacturing are known for the dangers employees face, workers such as janitors also face risks. Although most of the injuries they suffer would not qualify as workplace accidents, they could cause long-term health problems. The University of California designed a safety training program for janitorial staff to assist employers and employees in maintaining safe work environments.

Most of the duties of janitors involve cleaning, and they often work after hours when office workers have gone home. The fact that they might be alone makes workplace safety even more critical because there might be no one to help in the event of an injury. The most significant hazards include slip-and-fall accidents if they clean floors while wearing inappropriate shoes. Musculoskeletal injuries are also prevalent among janitors because they push heavy carts and lift heavy objects like boxes, equipment and garbage bags.

Along with muscle and tendon sprains, strains and tears, janitors can develop repetitive strain injuries. Their jobs typically include sweeping, mopping and vacuuming, all of which can cause lower back strain and repetitive strain injuries in the shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. Other severe hazards include the threat of needle-stick or other sharp object injuries when they handle garbage bags and exposure to harmful chemicals used for cleaning. Protective gloves, respiratory masks and eye protection are crucial and so is proper ventilation in the areas where chemical fumes could be a threat.

Janitorial workers in California who suffer injuries in workplace accidents or through repetitive motions might be wise to learn the procedures to follow to set the ball rolling for workers’ compensation claims. Some choose to use the skills of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help them with the navigation of benefits claims. Their medical expenses will be paid, and those who suffer temporary disability will also receive wage-replacement packages.

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