If you are a professional in the cleaning industry then your main aim is to make sure that the environment you are employed in remains clean, tidy and, overall, safe for those who work in it. Whether you work as a professional cleaner in a school, an office or even a restaurant or café, the last thing that you want to do is get into an accident. Instead you should be the one focusing on maintaining a clean environment that can allow everyone to simply get on with their work without any problems. However, occasionally you may also encounter a number of risks that could put your own safety in jeopardy. Be sure to keep an eye out for these hazards!
An Important Note
Before we speak about the dangers that could be associated with cleaning up a dirty environment, if you are looking for a way to reduce these risks, you should invest in a form of insurance, such as Cleaners’ Insurance, to make sure that you are always protected. Although you should always keep aware of the dangers of utilising cleaning products, as well as working in dirty environments, and do what you can to reduce the risks, investing insurance can provide you with that extra sense of backup. That way, if you are hurt or injured on the job then you have the potential to claim compensation for it.
When you go on a cleaning job, be sure to take note of the environment you are working in. You should conduct a Health and Safety Risk Assessment, as these are a legal requirement, as you plan your cleaning routine. Make sure to note down any items in the environment that could be identified as a potential risk. That way you can analyse how you can work around them safety. You can also work out whether or not you can do the cleaning job on your own, or whether you will require cleaning equipment.
Slips and Trips
One of the most dangerous problems that a cleaner can encounter is in relation to slipping or falling. If you are working in a crowded environment then it is more likely that there may be an object that could cause you to either slip or trip. Whether this is due to the space being cluttered, having exposed wiring or hazards or even just by an employee spilling a glass of water on the ground, if you are trying to clean whilst on a schedule or are trying to move around other people, you may end up either tripping/slipping up and falling over. Worse still, a customer or member of the public may slip or trip on something you have spilt or dropped.
The last thing you want to do on a job is to hurt yourself by falling over, as this can cause damage to your back, head, arms or legs. This could affect your work and may even end up with you needing to be sent away from the job early. Also, if a member of the public slips or trips and you are to blame, you may be liable to pay them compensation. So always be aware of the potential hazards around you. If there is a slipping hazard, like a spilled liquid, be sure to locate it and leave a slipping warning sign to alert everyone nearby about the danger zone. It would also be helpful to do this if you are mopping an area.
If you are going to be working alongside hazardous chemicals, for example from cleaning products, then you will need to be aware of the dangers they possess. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 has rules in place in order to keep you safe from these chemicals entering the body. This could be through either ingesting them, inhaling them or even absorbing them through the skin. These sorts of chemicals can pose a high risk for cleaners if they are used on a daily basis, so be certain to make sure that they are stored, transported and handled appropriately.
Always be sure to wear the appropriate cleaning wear, such as gloves or goggles, if you intend to use them. Some of these chemicals can be irritants, corrosive or toxic, so it is best to make sure that cleaning products do not come in contact with the skin. If you are dusting, you may also want to consider a face mask in order to avoid inhalation of toxic substances, such as dust or vapours.
Glass and Broken Materials
It can be extremely dangerous to handle broken materials with the bare hands, especially for those who work within the cleaning industry. A normal part of the job is to make sure that everything is placed away neatly after being cleaned. However, employees are not perfect and may end up breaking something, like a cup, and you may be forced to clean it up. If you manage to cut yourself on the broken object then you must be prepared to clean it as quickly as possible. Should you not then you may at the risk of getting a bacterial infection, especially if you have managed to cut yourself on the glass. Also, be extremely careful around broken objects when tidying them away. Sweep them up before you wrap them in a small cloth to throw away. That way you can keep all of the shards in one place without them falling back onto the ground.
If you have regular work in a specific office or building, you may find that you end up using machines in order to help you with your cleaning. This can be as simple as a vacuum cleaner, however, you may end up using a more elaborate machine, such as a floor polisher, to handle a larger job. Always make sure that the cables of your equipment are not damaged prior to your use. If the machine is defective then you may be at risk of it breaking, or even worse, a potential electric shock. When you move your equipment, be sure to alert others in your vicinity that you are in the midst of cleaning. That way if there are any wires then they can avoid tripping over them. However, always make sure that your cables do stretch to allow you to have feel reign of your environment.