Janitors and custodians are important parts of schools. Many people may think of teachers and principals before they think about these other school employees, but janitors and custodians do much of the behind-the-scenes work to help the school run smoothly.
One way that janitors help the school function properly is by keeping the halls, classrooms and auditoriums safe from hazards. Spilt liquids, wires and clutter can all be causes for slips, falls and trips that could injure students. The custodians and janitors work to prevent these hazards from interfering with education and keep the school working well and clean.
However, these dangers aren't just present for students. There are a number of dangers that can impact janitors or custodians working in a school setting, so it's important that they take safety efforts as well. Here are a few tips to help any school custodian, janitor or maintenance staff member from falling victim to a hazard of the job.
Watch Out for Trips, Falls and Slips
Although these are accidents that janitors work to protect faculty and students from, they're still dangers to themselves as well. Spilled soap in the boys' bathroom can cause a painful slip when they're trying to clean it, for example. This underscores the importance of safety and proper footwear. Slip-resistant shoes can be just the thing to add friction to a slippery surface. These nonslip work shoes can also be a huge asset for frequent trips up and down the stairs, across recently waxed floors, through the hardwood gymnasium and in many other situations.
Unrelated to friction, Clean Environment Janitorial Services in Dayton, Ohio, did warn that tripping over cables is a major problem in many janitorial jobs. Whether working behind a teacher's desk in the classroom or in the administrative offices of the school, cords, wires and cables can create a serious danger to janitors and custodians.
Lift With Care
Many school janitors have multifaceted jobs that call on them to do a wide range of tasks. While one minute they may be mopping the hallways' floors, the next they may be called to move classroom equipment. This can lead to one of the most common types of work injures, The Janitorial Store explained. Often, people try to lift too much without enough preparation, which can cause serious back problems that may even force a janitor or custodian to miss work. The Janitorial Store advised that instead, people follow proper protocol when lifting.
"Lifting should be done by bending the knees and not twisting or turning the back," the janitorial community site explained. "Lift belts should be worn when moving heavy equipment or furniture. Slide materials to the back of a truck before attempting to lift them. Items should not be lifted over truck walls or tailgates."
Use Gloves and Goggles
Some experienced janitors may feel silly wearing goggles or gloves while taking out the trash or unclogging a sink, but these simple tools can shield janitors and custodians from an array of injuries. Gloves can come in handy to avoid cuts while sweeping up broken glass, carrying old crates and even recycling.
Additionally, many janitorial duties require cleaning and disinfecting with harsh chemicals. These can splash and harm people's eyes. Of course, people should pour from a low height and follow proper instructions, but goggles can be an invaluable tool in case an accident occurs.
In order for janitors and custodians to protect students, teachers and administrators from common school dangers, they must first practice safe habits themselves.