The National Safety Council recognizes June as National Safety Month, a reminder for facility managers to evaluate how to minimize risks of harm and provide employees with a safe working environment. Safety concerns do not exclude cleaning professionals, who combat pathogens on a daily basis and handle potentially toxic chemicals, which can put them at risk of health issues. National Safety Month is a good time for facility managers to address worker safety while meeting the new standard of clean created by the coronavirus.
Keeping Staff Safe
To prioritize worker safety, businesses should consider setting the following objectives for their cleaning programs:
- Equip workers with solutions they feel safe using: Many conventional cleaners and disinfectants contain toxic chemicals that can cause employees eye or skin irritation, as well as other adverse health effects. Staff members are likely cleaning more frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic, so facility managers should provide their staff with solutions that are gentler on people. They should not contain harsh chemicals that irritate skin and eyes, but still be capable of effectively removing harmful pathogens.
- Avoid chemical mixing: Some workers have heard the horror stories of fellow professionals getting burned, falling sick or, in a worst-case scenario, passing away from chemical mixing mistakes. Required mixing always leaves a chance for mishaps with serious consequences. To mitigate these risks, facilities can invest in solutions that simplify the cleaning process and don’t require any mixing. Generating electrochemically-activated solutions on site and on demand requires only salt, water and electricity.
- Provide sufficient training: Facility managers can reduce potential accidents by properly training their staff on where, when and how to use cleaning solutions. Choosing easy-to-use on multiple surfaces can help safeguard workers from making mistakes and help minimize stress.
- Provide protective equipment. Some cleaning solutions require that users wear gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE), while others do not. But during the COVID pandemic, it is important to always have PPE such as gloves and face masks on hand to protect employees during certain tasks.
Well-trained, better-equipped cleaning professionals who feel safe are more likely to remain on the job, which is noteworthy for a profession with an extremely high turnover rate – some estimates place it between 200 and 400%. During National Safety Month, consider taking the steps above toward a safer cleaning program. Managers who care for their employees’ safety properly are taking the first step toward a more secure staff and a cleaner facility.