By Kory Heck
April 1, 2019
Commercial cleaners often go unseen by many people, but these “invisible heroes” make sure places like offices, healthcare facilities, schools and airports are spotless. From chemical and noise exposure to ergonomic strain, there are numerous risks cleaners encounter.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, custodians and cleaners suffer an average of 50,000 injuries a year that require days off work. It’s every facility’s responsibility to find ways to make cleaning safer. Fortunately, cost savings and improved productivity no longer need to come at the expense of health and safety. Today, there are innovative solutions that can improve the work environment of these invaluable team members.
Cleaning staff are often exposed to potentially harmful or irritating chemicals, fumes and other contaminants while on the job. When it comes to cleaning with chemicals, closed-loop dilution systems deliver superior accuracy, while also protecting users from direct chemical contact. This eliminates exposure to concentrates and provides improved safety for employees, building occupants and the areas being cleaned.
With new technology in high performance diamond cleaning pads, workers can do more with less. These floor pads allow staff to clean and polish in one step without the use of any chemicals. Workers only need water and a machine equipped with one of these special pads featuring billions of microscopic diamonds.
In addition to chemical exposure, heightened noise levels are also a challenge for many cleaning teams. Facility managers should consider quiet vacuums that can help reduce high decibel exposure to improve employee comfort while on the job. Vacuums that run ultra-quietly also allow employees more flexibility to clean during either day or night, as cleaning is less disruptive to building occupants and visitors. Day cleaning not only helps facilities reduce nighttime energy costs, but also provides employees with a more reasonable working schedule.
Easy & Ergonomic Operation
Cleaning often involves repetitive arm, wrist and hand movements that can be physically strenuous to perform. Daily cleaning actions like polishing, scrubbing and operating machinery that vibrates are predisposing factors for repetitive motion injuries, or RMIs. Common RMIs, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and bursitis, can lead to lost labor and diminished productivity.
Cleaning equipment and tools that embrace ergonomics include ride-on floor care machines, which allow employees to sit comfortably instead of walking and standing to clean. Such machines also offer customizable work carts and caddies that offer easier access to tools and products. Facility managers should also consider the ergonomics of auto scrubbers that offer superior water pick-up—including on uneven surfaces—that eliminates standing water puddles that can result in slip-and-fall incidents for workers, occupants and visitors.
There are also intelligent floor care machines that incorporate features that improve everyone’s safety. Rather than requiring continuous operation of a machine, hands-free machines can be started with the push of a button and run on their own. This equipment uses sonar, lidar and other sensors to navigate around obstacles and people.
Safe and Healthy Cleaning
The health and well-being of cleaning staff is a crucial consideration when selecting products, tools and equipment for your facility. Without commercial cleaners disinfecting surfaces, taking care of floors and completing other key tasks, buildings would be at best unpleasant and at worst unsafe. Maintaining a clean facility is critical to impress guests and uphold your business’ reputation, but it is equally important to protect the safety and health of the cleaning staff that make your daily operations possible. Thankfully, many of today’s solutions take into account the well-being of workers without sacrificing performance.
Kory Heck serves as Marketing Director – Contractors, Government & Education for Diversey, a leader in providing smart, sustainable solutions for cleaning and hygiene, including the ultra-silent TASKI®AERO vacuums, chemical free Twister pads, and TASKI Intellibot® hands-free cleaning machines. To learn more about cleaning solutions from Diversey, visit www.diversey.com.