Contract cleaners should know that just wearing gloves and, hopefully, goggles is not enough to ensure worker safety.
There are several other items that should be worn, are required to be worn by OSHA regulations, or stored nearby in case of an emergency.
Refer to the following Building and Maintenance Safety Checklist, to further enhance safety within the professional cleaning industry:
- Fall protection. OSHA requires fall protection equipment whenever a worker climbs four feet above the floor or works at a building’s edge; this could include platforms, scaffolding, etc.
- Face protection. Goggles should always be worn and workers should also consider wearing face shields. This is true if working near stored chemicals, large mechanical equipment, or similar hazards.
- Hearing protection. Hearing loss is becoming one of the most common occupational health hazards in a variety of industries, including professional cleaning. OSHA requires ear plugs/coverings to be worn if workers are exposed to “average” decibel exposure (about 85 decibels) for eight hours or longer.
- Proper hand protection. Each year more than a million workers visit emergency rooms due to hand injuries. Of these workers, 70 percent weren’t wearing gloves or were not wearing the right gloves. A knowledgeable distributor will help cleaning workers select the proper hand protection for a variety of cleaning tasks.
- Back support. An estimated 20 percent of all workplace injuries are injuries to the back. Different types of back belts are available to address this problem as well as posters … studies indicate installing posters advising workers on how to work without harming their backs can be very effective.
- Foot protection. “Many cleaning workers go to work without giving a second thought to the shoes they wear,” says Robb Borgen, vice president of marketing for Impact Products. “This often leads to an accident. Work shoes or “grippers” are available to protect workers from slipping, falling objects, even electrocution. Don’t forget to wear the right shoes.”
Robert Kravitz is a frequent writer for the professional cleaning and building industries.