Find out how you can prevent janitorial accidents so your team can work safely and effectively without worry.
Did you know that every year, there are approximately 20,000 janitorial accidents that result in employees taking days off of work to recover? That’s what the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. They calculated that between 2016 and 2020, “injury and illness cases” across the janitorial industry led to the equivalent of 54 years worth of time away from work.
They go on to report that two of the leading causes were “exposure to harmful substances” or a “fall on same level,” meaning slipping or tripping and falling into something or onto the floor. Without getting into the finer details, here is some of what generally happens when there is an accident at work:
- Several people stop working to help the injured person.
- The person goes home or to the emergency room and is out for several shifts.
- The shift supervisor spends time filling out an accident report.
- The remaining janitorial team works short-staffed and either overexerts themselves, leading to additional potential injuries, or they cut corners to get the job done. And unless someone comes in to cover, your team will continue to work short-staffed.
- A few weeks later, you start working with your insurance company and figuring out how to deal with the medical bills and worker’s compensation claims.
Of course, if someone is injured on the job, you want other team members to help them. And sending them to the emergency room and approving worker’s comp claims is the right thing to do. Still, this takes money and time, not to mention the toll on the injured person.
The much easier and better route, for both your business and your team, is to prevent janitorial accidents in the first place.
Make your cleaning business more organized, efficient, and profitable. Schedule a free call with Janitorial Manager to learn how mobile-friendly scheduling software can help you streamline your operation like never before.
7 Ways you can make janitorial accidents disappear
Since accidents are, by definition, unexpected events, it’s nearly impossible to plan for every situation that may occur. We also know that many janitorial accidents are preventable. For example, exposure to harmful substances and slips, are very easily preventable with a few precautions.
1. Make safety a priority. It’s easy to assume that safety is a priority for everyone, but for that to come to fruition, you need to state explicitly that you want your team to put safety first.
2. Conduct safety training. There are so many paths you can explore for safety training. These might include trainings around chemical disposal, basic first aid, or OSHA safety training courses. Many safety training courses are available in-person and online, making it easy to fit into your schedule, as well.
3. Go back to basics. It’s always helpful to revisit some of the basic safety principles, such as how to properly don and doff PPE, ensuring equipment is unplugged before performing any maintenance, wearing non-slip footwear, and organizing any storage with the heaviest items on the bottom shelves.
4. Use appropriate equipment. Too many janitorial accidents happen when we use improper equipment. Make it clear that your employees should not stand on chairs or desks, climb shelving, or use railings to help them reach higher surfaces. Ladders, step ladders, or tools with extendable handles are specifically designed for climbing and reaching.
5. Take advantage of color coding. While all of your cleaning supplies should have SDS sheets (safety data sheets), not everyone will have the ability or take the time to read them. Color coding, by contrast, makes it quick and easy to identify any potentially hazardous cleaning products.
6. Do a safety awareness walkthrough. One way to help prevent janitorial accidents is to walk through a new space with your team and identify potential hazards. These might include floors that might be slippery when mopped, areas with poor ventilation, spaces that might be especially hot or cold, low ceilings or doorways, uneven surfaces, areas with poor visibility, and any other areas of concern.
7. Ask for help. You don’t have to figure everything out on your own. You can get a free on-site consultation directly through OSHA. Some state Labor Departments also offer free safety consultations. The Maine Department of Labor, for example, will discuss your concerns and goals, then help you recognize and reduce hazards, improve your safety program, and advise you on OSHA regulations and training. These resources, depending on your location, are either low-cost or free, meaning you have several options for help with safety and preventing janitorial accidents.
You may not be able to prevent every accident, but there’s a lot you can do to minimize risk and keep your team and your customers safe.
Harness the value of Janitorial Manager to streamline your cleaning operation like never before. Learn more today with a discovery call and find out how to make your cleaning operation more efficient and cost effective!