Cleaning services are very often neglected in terms of quality, but also terms of occupational safety. Simultaneously, this is a physically demanding and often dangerous job for humans, offering a whole range of risks from exposure to hazardous substances to irregular working hours. What are the real risks of cleaning, and how to prevent them?
An attitude of cleaning companies and the EU to health and safety
One of the most relevant industries is the cleaning sector—widespread industries in the European Union. According to Eurostat, in 2010, around 3.5 million people worked in this field. In the vast majority of cases, this work is carried out by women, mostly foreigners from the Eastern bloc of Europe. They are employed by cleaning companies that provide their services externally, as subcontractors, for other companies. And this is where the nail head reaches us.
We often encounter some cleaning companies’ indifference to their employees from abroad because they only temporarily work for them. Health and safety thus have almost no priority for them. However, the reality is that thanks to the European Union’s increasing pressure on employers in terms of health and safety and more frequent inspections of obligations, the situation has been slowly and surely improving in recent years. Only very rarely do you meet illegal employees today, who are the most endangered target group in terms of work safety.
The quality of cleaning services and hygiene also has a large share in the level of work safety. Neglect can result in the spread of bacteria and infections that give rise to various types of disease and, for example, the risk of slipping and falling on wet floors. The European Union institutions active in occupational safety and health consider the cleaning services sector particularly vulnerable to the risks associated with work involving slipping, tripping, and even aggressive public access to cleaning workers.
Risks of work safety during cleaning
There are several safety risks in the area of cleaning. Workers are exposed to exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as various cleaning, rodent control or disinfection products, and severe physical exertion that affects their health in the long term. They do strenuous work that provides constantly recurring movements of the forward bend, bending, pulling, carrying, etc. This has a major impact on musculoskeletal disorders of muscles, joints, nerves, and other musculoskeletal problems. Therefore, employers and workers should be informed that work ergonomics is also a necessary risk prevention factor.
The ten most common risks in the cleaning sector include:
- contact with dangerous chemical substances – most often corrosion with sodium hydroxide (lye), disinfectants, rodent control, and insecticides
- slipping on a wet floor – fractures, and bruises
- tripping overwork aids and tools, such as cleaning machines, brooms, etc. – fractures, bruises, bumps
- electric shock most often in case of incorrect handling of cleaning equipment
- incorrect ergonomics of work – work in a forward bend or another inappropriate position – musculoskeletal pain, musculoskeletal disorders of muscles, joints, and nerves
- poor handling of loads when moving various objects – problems with the musculoskeletal system
- long-term standing and high load on the lower limbs – varicose veins, swelling, and leg pain
- noise and vibration when working with cleaning machines
- biological agents – infections, endoparasites, etc. causing diseases and allergies
- psychological stress – irregular working hours, work stress, violence, bullying, work in isolation.
For safe and well cleaning services in Sumner, you can contact Premier Janitorial as the best cleaning service provider.