Janitors maintain the upkeep of the inside and outside of buildings as well as make any needed repairs. Though their jobs aren’t as hazardous as construction or oil rigging, janitorial work is not without risks.
In 2018, janitors and cleaners in the private sector had an injury incidence rate of 137.1 per 10,000 FTE (full-time equivalent) workers. (The rate was 157.4 per 10,000 FTE a year later.) Below are five common injuries among janitorial workers:
1. Chemical exposure
Many cleaning products can harm one’s health if they’re not used properly, such as mixing bleach and ammonia. Janitorial workers can also endanger themselves if their employers fail to provide safety gear that guards against toxic fumes and burns.
2. Slip and falls
One of the duties of a janitor is to mop and buff floors. Water and wax make floors — especially linoleum — very sleek and slippery, putting janitors at risk of slipping and spraining their ankles or breaking bones.
3. Musculoskeletal injuries
Janitorial work involves cleaning, making repairs and moving heavy objects. These tasks require repetitive movements and exertion, actions that eventually take a toll on the body. As a result, many workers end up with injuries like tendinitis or back pain.
4. Pathogen exposure
Sometimes, a janitor cleans up blood and other bodily waste, particularly if they work in a healthcare setting. They become vulnerable to contracting diseases if they don’t receive proper training to handle affected areas and materials.
5. Falls from heights
Some janitors tend to light fixtures and climb high ladders to reach them. This can cause them to lose their balance and sustain severe injuries.
Janitorial work is an underappreciated industry involving more risks than people expect. If you’re a janitorial employee injured on the job and you encounter problems with your workers’ compensation claim, experienced legal guidance may help.