Janitorial workers clean and maintain many buildings for the rest of us, including schools, hospitals, retail stores, office complexes, and hotels. They perform a job many of us would prefer not to do—often for low wages and few benefits. Unfortunately, they risk serious injuries on the job and may not be able to afford to take time off while they heal. However, they could be entitled to workers’ compensation to pay for the mounting medical bills they could incur and the lost wages they could desperately need to pay the basic living expenses for themselves and their families.
5 Workplace Accidents Custodians Risk At Work
Janitorial workers face risks of injury not only from the work they perform, but also from the equipment and cleaning materials they use. Common ways they could be injured include:
- Repetitive motion. Custodial work involves many repetitive motions, such as bending, lifting, reaching, pushing, and pulling. Often workers are required to fill and lift heavy buckets of water and bend over while using a mop to clean floors. These repetitive movements can cause custodians to suffer sprains, strains, back injuries, and other musculoskeletal injuries that can cause long-term pain, especially when workers continue to perform the same duties day after day.
- Fall accidents. Floors can become dangerously slippery after they are cleaned or when there is a spill that needs to be mopped up. Janitors can also fall from ladders and other work areas.
- Electrical shock. Employees often work with electrical equipment, like vacuum cleaners, floor buffers, and power tools. This exposes them to the risk of electrical shock, especially if they are using this equipment around spills and wet surfaces.
- Toxic chemical exposure. Workers are exposed daily to window cleaner, chlorinated scouring powder, hydrogen peroxide, drain cleaners, disinfectants, and other dangerous chemicals. As a result of exposure to the fumes, employees can suffer eye irritations or burns, cuts or lacerations, chemical burns, irritation of the nose, throat, or lungs, or lung disorders like asthma.
- Infectious diseases. Custodians can be exposed to bloodborn pathogens or other infectious diseases, especially when cleaning in hospitals, other medical facilities, or schools. They can contract serious illnesses, such as Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), liver damage, or Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV), which can cause AIDS.
If you have questions about whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits or your employer is refusing to pay you these benefits for your workplace injury, we’re here to help. Start an online chat to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation where we can explain your rights under workers’ comp and how we can help you.