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

The following two tabs change content below.

Leave a reply


Latest Posts
Brace for extreme dryness and heat
People who are living or working in Western Canada are warned to brace themselves for a long, dry an [more]
Guilty verdict in scaffold collapse deaths
Hopefully, the conviction of a construction project manager on four charges of criminal negligence c [more]
Protective footwear: the latest CSA Standard Z195-14
A Canadian Community Health Survey on injuries that covered 2009–2010 (Statistics Canada) shows th [more]
Coping with and preventing workplace fatigue
No one would dispute that fatigue at work is a serious problem, especially in occupations like nursi [more]
Young worker safety blitz continues through August
The summer work season is well underway, and so is the Ministry of Labour’s summer safety campaign [more]
Mental health in workplace a growing problem: report
A new report from the charitable organization HealthPartners says that mental illness takes an enorm [more]
Stopping gas-and-dash fatalities: legislation or training?
Violence in the workplace is one of the risks people may encounter, especially in jobs that involve [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
Natural light, greenery make workplaces more productive: report
One man’s vision of hell is a vast, stark, soul-destroying corporate office containing hundreds of identical desks, with harsh fluorescent lighting overhead, no windows, and no trace of anything liv [more]
Work stress linked to diabetes in women
Research shows that diabetes rates have doubled in the last two decades. This trend is seen not only in Canada, but in other parts of the world as well. Although studies show that the number of deaths [more]
The impact of chronic pain in the workplace
Pain is both a sensory and an emotionally unpleasant experience that may be associated with tissue damage, according to the International Association for the Study of Pain. When pain does not go away [more]
twitter_banner-220
Back to top

Design By Persona Corp