These cleaning regulations aren’t just for fun; they’ll help keep your team and your customers safe.
The nice thing about most cleaning regulations is that they make sense. For example, the Bloodborne pathogens standard requires that employers provide employees with appropriate personal protective equipment when they’re handling blood or potentially infectious fluids. Certainly, no one should be dealing with that type of contaminant without gloves.
It’s that common sense element that makes it easy to follow so many cleaning regulations without too much thought or concern. But, at the same time, you don’t want to ignore them and assume that everything will be fine.
These regulations are in place for good reasons. First, they help keep working conditions safe for your employees and your customers alike. And in case you’re wondering, yes, OSHA does issue citations and fines. The latest yearly reporting specifically for the janitorial industry shows that 85 citations were issued for penalties totaling $488,016. Here are some frequently cited issues.
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These 10 OSHA cleaning regulations get overlooked far too often (and will cost you)
1. Bloodborne pathogens. Average fine: $2275. Despite the seeming popularity of standard 1910.1030, it still ranks in the top 10 for violations of OSHA cleaning regulations. You can read more about the regulation HERE, but the short version is that employees need to wear proper PPE whenever they’re dealing with potentially contaminated fluids.
2. Respiratory protection. Average fine: $2677. Though not the most expensive, violations of standard 1910.134 showed up with more citations than any other cleaning regulations. You can likely tell by the title that this references personal protective equipment.
3. (Tie) Eye and face protection and Hand protection. Average fine: $3,000 each. Here are two more cleaning regulations that pertain to PPE. Eye and face protection pertains to “liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, [and] chemical gases or vapors.” Hand protection addresses chemical burns, severe cuts, and punctures.
4. Duty to have fall protection and falling object protection. Average fine: $4229. This regulation states that employees working on an elevated surface must be protected from falling by a guardrail, handrail, or other restraint systems. You also need to have systems in place, such as screens or guardrails, to keep objects from falling onto employees.
5. Permit-required confined spaces. Average fine: $6899. Another frequent issue that OSHA inspectors came across is ensuring that confined spaces are either free of toxic or dangerous aerosols or that entrance to these areas is regulated.
6. Maintenance, safeguards, and operational features for exit routes. Average fine: $8127. Standard 1910.37 is pretty straightforward and vital to exit a building safely in case of an emergency. The standard requires well-marked, unobstructed exit routes, alarm systems, and other safeguards.
7. Hazard communication. Average fine: $8173. Standard 1910.1200 was one of the most frequently cited cleaning regulations, and it’s understandable given the number of cleaning products we use. This is a lengthy standard, but the primary purpose is to ensure information regarding any hazards is shared “by means of comprehensive hazard communication programs, which are to include container labeling and other forms of warning, safety data sheets and employee training.”
8. The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout). Average fine: $8,391. Standard 1910.147 is fairly in-depth, but at its core, this standard covers the accidental or unexpected startup of a potentially harmful machine during maintenance.
9. General requirements for all machines. Average fine: $13,653. Though it’s tough to tell what it is from the title, this is one of the cleaning regulations that is expensive and dangerous to ignore. In short, standard 1910.212 requires a barrier or a guard to protect the operator from “ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks,” and includes portable power tools.
10. Medical services and first aid. Average fine: $15,459. This OSHA standard provides “guidelines regarding eye wash and body flushing facilities required for immediate emergency use in electric storage battery charging and maintenance areas.”
Clearly, these won’t all apply to every situation. However, it’s always a good idea to keep up with OSHA regulations. It’s good for you, good for your employees, good for your customers, and ultimately, good for your commercial cleaning business.
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