Optimize and Reboot Your Workplace Safety

Safety tips for custodial workers

Safety tips for custodial workers

Housekeeper, maid, custodian, janitor: whatever their title is, these are the individuals who keep the world clean and safe for the rest of us. But these people are also at great risk of getting hurt on the job. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in 2010 alone there were over 46,000 injuries to custodial workers on the job. This makes it the sixteenth most dangerous occupation in the country.

A big part of the problem is that no one, including the workers, really thinks much about the dangers that they face throughout their daily routine. They become complacent; these tasks are performed throughout the world by untrained people, even children, in every home and business. The tasks don’t seem terribly dangerous, but they most certainly can be. Custodial workers of every sort will benefit by reviewing these tips to keep safety a top priority each day at work.

Listen to your body

Many injuries to custodial workers are musculoskeletal and repetitive motion related. Using force, working in awkward positions, standing for long periods, applying continuous pressure, and enduring vibration are just some of the factors that contribute to these kinds of injuries. Workers should be encouraged to think about this and make an effort to follow any company suggestions, or come up with their own, to improve the way each task is preformed. And as always, appropriate PPE, such as back support devices and supportive work shoes, should be worn to mediate any potential problems before they happen.

 Work smart

A little effort can go a long way when it comes to working smarter. Taking a few moments each morning to organize the work day is a good place to start. Repetitive or similar physical activity tasks should not be done over an extended time but broken into shorter segments where possible. It is also important to take take breaks. While it may be tempting to “just get it done,” we really do work better, and safer, when rested and not stressed.

Another way to work smarter is to use the appropriate tools to make the day safer and easier. Extension poles should be used instead of overreaching for things, for example, and PPE should be a given, especially when working with chemicals or hazardous materials. Bending over for prolonged periods should be avoided; bending puts undue strain on the back and causes tiredness more quickly, which can lead to stress and strain injuries, which can cause chronic pain and put a worker on the disabled list permanently.

Lemaitre-Viper-Oxford-slip-resistant-suede-work-shoe-SafetyReboot
Oil and slip-resistant shoes should be worn by custodial workers. Shown is the Lemaitre 143-Viper for women, available at specialty retailers such as Mister Safety Shoes.

Watch your feet

Trips, slips, and falls are understandably a huge problem for custodial workers because of the nature of the job. Avoiding such accidents needs to always be in workers’ thoughts when doing this type of work. As always, the best way for everyone to avoid slip-and-fall accidents is to practice good housekeeping and maintenance in the first place. Custodial workers also need to prepare themselves to be in direct contact with this danger. The most important preventive measure is to choose good quality footwear with slip-resistant soles that are rated for the type of hazard you are in contact with. Soles that are superior for water-wet floors may be like ice skates on an oil-soaked floor. Workers should also be reminded to simply slow down.

Signs of possible custodial work-related problems

Constant fatigue

Cold hands

Swelling

Numbness

Tingling

Changes in skin colour of hands and fingertips

Weakness or reduced grip strength

Loss of sensation

Aching, burning, or shooting pain

Decreased range of motion

—Danielle Darling for Safety Reboot

Leave a reply


6 × = fifty four

Latest Posts
Border agency to upgrade facilities, improve conditions for workers
A recent federal report revealed that Canadian border officers may be suffering from a dangerous env [more]
Should airlines do more psychiatric screening of pilots?
The confirmation that the co-pilot of the Germanwings Airbus that crashed into a French mountainside [more]
Transportation safety concerns in rail, trucking sectors
The transportation sector was the second safest of the thirteen industrial sectors inspected in a Mi [more]
Distracted driving accidents are entirely preventable
The Canada Safety Council states that any business that has company vehicles is likely to have colli [more]
Seniors homes understaffing poses risks to patients and staff
The growing shortage of staff for Ontario’s long-term care facilities could lead to more problems [more]
“All reasonable precautions” covers many workplace injury claims
Whenever a worker is injured on the job in Ontario, the employer may face legal consequences. There [more]
Fall-prevention blitz shows safety lacking on construction sites
Employers and employees in the construction industry should pay more attention to fall prevention on [more]

safety-logos-footerSafety Reboot is dedicated to keeping Canadian workplaces safe through a news and education approach to occupational worker safety. We focus on prevention, training, latest techniques, equipment and behavioural education to help you optimize your workplace safety.

Hidden Dangers
Keep fit at work, retire healthy
A recent survey involving about 2,800 Canadian workers revealed that many people might not be able to retire as they had planned because of health concerns. Many of the respondents to the Ipsos Reid s [more]
Managing mercury spills
Mercury is a unique, naturally occurring metal that is liquid at room temperature and can vaporize into the air, conduct electricity, and combine with other metals to form amalgams. Although it has ma [more]
Pharmacy errors a big, potentially deadly unknown
One of the potential causes of accidents involving the use of medications is pharmacy errors. Between getting prescriptions for medications and obtaining these from a local pharmacy or hospital, most [more]
twitter_banner-220
Back to top

Design By Persona Corp