Workplace injuries are something one would immediately associate with construction or mining. However, injuries are also commonplace in the cleaning industry. It’s not at all surprising, considering that cleaning personnel use a variety of equipment and chemicals on a daily basis.
As such, if you own a cleaning company, avoiding injuries should be one of your primary concerns. It can be costly if your employees routinely get hurt while doing their jobs, not only in terms of money but also in terms of your reputation. Prioritising injury prevention and the overall health of your workers can also boost morale and work satisfaction, which can result in reduced attrition (and thus more savings).
Obviously, you can’t completely prevent injuries. Accidents do happen, after all. Still, there are a lot of things you can do to help your employees avoid getting injured as much as possible. Here are just a few:
Invest in H&S training
One of the best things you can do for your employees is to invest in their safety. In particular, there are health and safety training courses for cleaners that include sessions on proper handling of equipment and cleaning chemicals. There are also courses that focus on hazardous substances, particularly proper disposal to prevent not just injuries but also contamination. Of course, there’s also first-aid training so that your people can provide assistance during emergencies while they await the arrival of medical personnel.
When choosing a health and safety training company, make sure that they have the knowledge and experience. You’re putting your people’s lives in the hands of the trainers, however indirectly. Thus, you want to choose an organisation that knows what they’re doing.
Remember to wear the right footwear
Wearing personal protective equipment or PPE is necessary for cleaning personnel, especially if they’re handling chemicals and hazardous waste. Aside from the proper suits and uniforms, masks, gloves, and safety goggles are a must. Hair coverings may also be needed, depending on the kind of cleaning job.
Ensuring that your cleaning personnel have the right PPE can make you forget about one important detail, however: the right shoes. With appropriate footwear, cleaning workers can avoid falls and slips. Remind your employees not to use sandals or any form of open-toed shoes at work to prevent injuries to the toes. Lightweight safety shoes are ideal for both protection and mobility. Athletic shoes are also acceptable, as long as the treads are not worn down to the point of being smooth and slippery.
Have an emergency action plan
Accidents and other emergencies such as natural calamities can happen anytime. Should these events happen while your cleaning personnel are at work, they should know what to do to keep safe. Devise an emergency action plan and make sure that every employee knows about this protocol. Health and safety training courses usually include emergency response; you can also ask the training company if they can work with you to develop an emergency action plan.
Some of the key things you need to include in your emergency protocol is a preliminary check of the premises before the work commences. Take note of all the emergency exits, as well as safe meeting places should the worst happen.
Check the area before cleaning
To further ensure your staff’s safety, have them check the area thoroughly before cleaning. One of the key parts to inspect is the flooring. Check if there are any uneven surfaces that can cause someone to trip; if there are, delineate the area with warning signs. Any damage to the flooring, such as loose boards or holes, should ideally be repaired before the work commences. You should also check if there are any furnishings or objects that could possibly fall over, such as shelves and overhead fixtures. Make sure that all of these are secure before the job starts.
Arrange an ideal cleaning schedule
As much as possible, your crew should start cleaning when there are fewer people around. In commercial establishments, for example, a deep-cleaning job should start after office hours or during the weekends. The less traffic there is, the less chances there are of accidents. It can also help shorten the cleaning time. However, there should be a daily cleaning routine in place during non-rush hours. There should also be a system to handle urgent cleaning needs, such as spills (especially for hazardous substances).
Have the right number of people to do the job
Sending the right number of people for a cleaning job can help prevent injuries. For example, if there is a lot of furniture to be moved around for thorough cleaning, you need more than two to three people. Else, your workers will get tired faster and risk straining their backs and bending their knees too much. Before finalising your contract with the client, review their needs and inspect the property if possible. These will help you determine exactly how many members of your crew you need to send to do the job.
The bottom line here is that the healthier your employees are, the less money you need to spend. Besides, investing in your employees’ welfare is one of the best ways to ensure productivity and inspire loyalty from them. What’s more, if clients know that you’re taking good care of your people, the more likely they are to avail your services. In short, preventing injuries and keeping your staff healthy makes good business sense for your company.