OSHA stands for The Occupational and Health Administration. It implements workplace safety regulation in the United States. Worksites, as well as businesses, can be subject to periodic OSHA inspections and employee safety complaints can also set off OSHA inspections. Violating OSHA codes can result in various minor to severe consequences for a business. But cleaning professionals can follow these janitorial safety tips, to reduce the risks of fines and other citations.
When it comes to custodial work, it may seem dangerous, but it is not. Some worksites may come with unexpected safety issues like injury, loss of money etc. that may become a major reason for citation. These citations can relate to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and can cause $13,000 for a severe violation of over $132,000 for repeated violations.
Tips for Janitors on Avoiding OSHA Citations
1. Use PPE- Personal Protective Equipment
A crucial janitorial safety tip is to always carry PPE on a job site. For instance, if you do commercial cleaning in an office building, it’s recommended that you wear gloves. But if you are working on a construction site or a healthcare facility, you need PPE like hard hats or a surgical masks respectively. Your PPE can help keep you safe against potentially harmful germs and substances. By using PPE, you’ll automatically be compliant with OSHA standards.
2. Bloodborne Pathogen Standard
Bodily fluid contact is not associated with every janitorial job but is a common hazard for those working in healthcare settings. Those exposed to these hazards need to comply with the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. This policy sets an easy and safe way to handle blood and other bodily fluids. If you work in a setting where blood contact is common, it is important to have the proper training. If you fail to participate or provide training to your employees, it could result in citations from OSHA.
3. Slippery Surfaces
It is quite common to forget to put up a caution sign on a wet or slippery floor. But it can be dangerous and cause serious injuries, therefore putting up cautionary signs are mandatory. The sign you put on a wet floor should be clearly visible before someone steps on the wet surface. You can use multiple precaution signs to ensure there’s less risk of injury.
If you notice something hazardous on a worksite, note it and communicate it with the authorities. Whether it is asbestos, broken glass or a sharp object, talk to the person-in-charge in the immediate area to have it removed. Proper communication is vital to preventing injuries.
5. Proper Training to use Heavy Electrical Equipment
From floor buffers to industrial vacuum cleaners, janitors often handle heavy equipment, and, if misused, these tools can cause serious injuries. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your team knows how to use these types of machinery safely. Make sure your team understands emergency shut-off procedures and what steps they should take if someone is injured.
6. Dilute Chemicals used for Cleaning
Regardless of the chemicals you use in commercial settings, make sure to dilute it. If you don’t dilute it, simply inhaling the fumes could cause someone to become sick . Always properly label cleaning chemicals and make your team understands how the chemicals should be diluted. Handle Hazardous Waste Properly
If your job site handles dangerous waste, make sure to dispose of properly to avoid any fines or citations. Personal Protective Equipment becomes important again in such cases. Most states have their own rules and regulations on getting rid of dangerous waste. Therefore, it is important to check the individual state regulations to ensure your in compliance with safety standards.
7. Mechanical Integrity is a must
When operating heavy machinery, make sure it is checked properly. An inspection team from OSHA can show up at anytime to monitor your work and equipment. If your machinery is not in proper working order, you could face a hefty fine. So, before you start a job, confirm that the machinery is safe to use.
8. Prevent Falls
There are times when you or your team may have to clean difficult to reach areas like a light fixture or an air duct, requiring the use of scaffolding or ladders. However, it can be easy for scaffolding to collapse and ladders to tip over if they’re not secured properly. Therefore, to avoid serious injury, it is important to inspect this equipment and set it up properly before anyone uses it.
9. Stay Up to Date on Training
To avoid OSHA fines, you should stay updated on training. Make sure to train your employees at least once a year. This can help them to stay updated with any new rules or regulations and will help keep safety a top priority.
The Key Takeaway
OSHA Standards and guidelines play a major role in minimizing or eliminating the safety hazards, which are crucial for ensuring a healthy and safe work environment. By following the above tips, Janitors can avoid OSHA fines and citations.
Disclaimer: The materials presented herein are for general reference only. These materials are intended to be used only as guides and should not be used, adopted, or modified without the advice of legal counsel.