There are many occupational hazards that housekeepers, janitors and other cleaners face. Statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that at least 42,000 of these workers suffered nonfatal injuries resulting in them taking one or more days off work in 2015. Most of these workers’ injuries were entirely preventable

The 3 most common dangers injuries cleaners face

Most cleaning agents that housekeepers or janitors use don’t come pre-mixed but instead require workers to mix a packet of toxic chemicals with water before use. Cleaners often develop throat, eye, skin or nose irritations from exposure to these harsh substances. Prolonged exposure can leave workers with severe lung damage that can easily shorten their lives.

Cleaning workers often complain about how their profession involves repetitive tasks, something that can be hard on your musculoskeletal system. Cleaning workers often develop ergonomic or repetitive motion injuries from the overuse of the same ligaments, tendons and muscles. This factor can affect the blood vessels and nerves in and around a workers’ overworked body parts. 

Another injury risk that cleaning workers face are slips, trips and falls. BLS statistics show that there were 11.3 incidents per 10,000 cleaning workers in 2015. These individuals often suffer these injuries while mopping or attempting to navigate drying floors or keeping up with water that puddles during a weather event. 

What cleaning workers can do to minimize their injury risk

Employers can significantly reduce their workers’ chances of falling ill by educating them about the downsides to mixing chemicals, teaching them to read labels and providing them with safer alternatives. They can keep their workers from getting hurt by giving them ergonomics training, educating them to change soiled water when mopping, and by providing them with equipment that dries floors more quickly. 

Your options if you suffered injuries on the job

Many Fairfax residents don’t have the luxury of not being able to work. Many instead rely on every dollar they make to keep their household afloat. Fortunately, there are laws on the books here in Virginia that allow you to receive employer-funded medical care and lost wages if you suffer injuries on the job. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you gain access to that funding if you’re unsure whether you’re eligible for or how to request it.