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5 Safety Tips for Janitors

Most cleaning jobs around the house can be managed with minimal danger, but on a work site, janitors are presented with situations that can be a bit more extreme. With a little foresight and some common sense, most risks can be easily mitigated. Here’s 5 tips for safely navigating janitorial tasks.


  1. There are times when your crew will have to clean a hard-to-reach place, such as an air duct or a light fixture, with a ladder or scaffolding. Be sure that either piece of equipment is set up correctly. Ladders can tip over, and scaffolding can collapse. Even a single screw missing could become a problem. Check the structural integrity of any equipment designed to help reach high places, and make sure it’s firmly grounded on a level surface.

  2. Perhaps the most important janitorial safety tip is to use personal protective equipment (PPE) on any job site. The equipment will be specific to the site; an office building has different requirements than a hospital. PPE helps to protect you against the very germs you’ve been hired to clean. Goggles, gloves, helmets, painting respirators, coveralls; when you use this equipment, you’re not just protecting yourself from fines and reprimands, you may also be saving yourself from an accident or illness.

  3. One of the most common janitorial-related accidents is a simple slip and fall. Employees should place proper signage on wet floors, practice cautious movements on worksites, and reduce threats such as loose clothing or shoes with insufficient grip. When possible, employees should use harnesses or hold on to handrails, especially when working in precarious positions such as on stairwells or other elevated surfaces. And in the winter months, don’t forget to think about icy front steps and wet floors from melted snow and slush.

  4. Ventilation is a consideration that’s ignored with alarming regularity. It’s easy to feel invulnerable to a risk that doesn’t hit you all at once, but ventilation-related injuries are usually cumulative over time. We’ve already discussed PPE, but it’s also important to make sure you have a flow of fresh air coming into your workspace, and a way to flush polluted, particulate-filled air out. It may be a more technological solution involving motors and forced air, or it might be as simple as opening a door or a window.

  5. Employees should always check their electric equipment before plugging in the item. If the cord is frayed or the prongs are bent or broken, if there’s noticeable damage to the device, or if it’s wet, leave it alone.

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