According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
janitors and building cleaners have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average. Workers suffer minor cuts, bruises, and burns from machines, tools, and For those of us who have been involved in the professional cleaning industry for a long period of time, this is certainly not news.
However, what is news is the fact that we so rarely hear about these injuries and illnesses. Why? There are several reasons:
Fear: Many cleaning workers are afraid that they will lose their jobs if they report an injury.
Kept quiet: Because injuries can result in increased workers' compensation costs, some contractors would prefer to keep injuries "under the radar" and address them quietly and in-house.
Perception: Some injuries are the result of workers' mishandling of cleaning chemicals, tools, or products. They do not want their employer or other workers to know the injury was their own fault.
Found and fixed: In some cases, an injury is the result of a machine that, for instance, was not performing properly. If the problem has been found and fixed, unless the injury was serious, many workers prefer to move on and forget the incident.
Company culture: When it comes to injuries, some company cultures encourage all injuries, large or small, to be reported; however, other company cultures emphasize service and performance over injury reporting.
The big problem about not reporting injuries or trying to deemphasize them is that it makes it more likely that they will happen again. Instead of pushing injuries under the table, contractors need to put more emphasis on training and education. Ultimately, that is the best way to keep injuries from happening.
About the Author
Segura & Associates was founded by Ron Segura, who now serves as president of the company. Ron has over 45 years of experience in all segments of the professional cleaning and building operation with ten of those years spent as Manager of Janitorial /Document Services for Walt Disney Pictures and Television. Segura & Associates works with clients, helping them operate their facilities in a healthier, more sustainable, and efficient manner. He can be reached via his website at http://www.seguraassociates.com.