13 Safety Tips for Your Janitorial Staff

by Lawton Brothers | Jun 14, 2018

Every facility will have its share of cleaning challenges. Because humans tend to take shortcuts and find expediencies, you must take the time to train them away from unsafe and ineffective procedures. In a janitorial environment where just about anything goes, you risk severe economic and social penalties from preventable accidents. Although each area to clean is unique, the following safety tips generally apply in any large facility.

1. Know the OSHA Rules

This seems like a no-brainer, but OSHA rules change often. To keep on top of them, at least one person on the staff should be charged with knowing current OSHA regulations and signage. Be aware that OSHA inspectors can drop in on your staff at any time, so never grow complacent with your safety processes.

2. Hold Regular Safety Meetings

Never assume that if you run your staff through one training program that they're good to go. The larger the facility, the more complex the safety issues and the more likely staff will forget what they learned in their safety class. Although you'd rather not devote an excessive amount of time in meetings, holding regular sessions to quickly reinforce one or two safety protocols each time should help your staff remember.

3. Make Sure Staff is Properly Equipped and Clothed

Never send your team into the trenches without the proper armor. Long pants, long sleeves and soft-soled shoes all help keep skin protected from slips, chemicals and abrasions. Don't forget to remind your long-haired staff to tie back their tresses to avoid obstructed vision and getting them caught in their cleaning equipment.

4. Use Goggles and Masks Around Hazardous Chemicals

If you must use hazardous chemicals, make sure your staff has easy access to rubber gloves, masks and goggles. You may want to consider switching to a green cleaning program. Several manufacturers of cleaning products offer non-toxic alternatives that work as well as, or better than, traditional toxic solutions. After all, you want to keep the safety of the environment in mind, too.

5. Use Special Protective Clothing Where Needed

If dealing with corrosive or hot materials, provide your crew with aprons or garments specially designed for protection against contact.

6. Keep Flammables Away from Heat Sources

Teach your staff to recognize the hazard labels on bottles of cleaning products. Be sure to impress upon them the need to keep flammable materials far away from open flames and other heat sources.

7. Store Chemicals at Eye Level or Below

Make sure stored chemicals can be easily reached. You don't want to encourage accidents by making your workers pull bottles and boxes down from above their heads.

8. Check Electrical Cords

Always check the electrical cords on your equipment. Never use a device with a frayed cord, especially if it is used near water.

9. Teach Proper Lifting Techniques

According to EHS Today, back injuries comprise almost half — 46 percent — of all janitorial injuries. Teaching proper lifting techniques should go a long way towards protecting your crew. In fact, this one training point should dominate your ongoing training protocol.

10. Mop Stairs from Top Down

Mopping always carries a slip and fall risk, but cleaning stairs magnifies the possible consequences. The employee should stand at least two steps below the riser under the mop and carefully work down.

11. Know Where Emergency Shut-off Switches Are

In the event of an equipment mishap, every operator should know by rote where the emergency shut-off switch is or, failing a switch, where the circuit breakers for the machine are. The same goes for water and gas valves.

12. Never Stand on Office Furniture

Always provide an array of step stools and ladders so your crew never feels the need to climb on desks or chairs to clean things above their heads. Proper climbing equipment not only helps prevent accidents, they preserve your clients' furniture, as well.

13. Never Stop Training

Finally, never skimp on training. If you feel your training system fails to embed safety habits in your crews, then you may want to contact us at Lawton Brothers. We offer adult learning programs that gain excellent safety and improved cleaning results. Rather than simply explain proper cleaning methods, our experienced, certified trainers will involve your team in hands-on techniques that they'll remember long after they complete the class.

For more information, please see our post The Importance of Training. Then, check out our upcoming training programs and call us today.

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