Why Janitorial Injuries Are Rarely Reported

segura and associatesFrom CleanLink News

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Janitors and building cleaners have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average. Workers suffer minor cuts, bruises, and burns from machines, tools, and chemicals.”

For those of us who have been involved in the professional cleaning industry for a long period of time, this is certainly not news.

“However, what is news is the fact that we so rarely hear about these injuries and illnesses,” says Ron Segura, president of Segura & Associates and a 45-year veteran of the industry.

Asked why we so rarely hear about janitorial injuries, Segura lists the following reasons:

Fear: Many cleaning workers are afraid that they will lose their jobs if they report an injury.

Kept quiet: Because injuries can result in increased workers’ compensation costs, some contractors would prefer to keep injuries “under the radar” and address them quietly and in-house.

Perception: Some injuries are the result of workers’ mishandling of cleaning chemicals, tools, or products. They do not want their employer or other workers to know the injury was their own fault.

Found and fixed: In some cases, an injury is the result of a machine that, for instance, was not performing properly. If the problem has been found and fixed, unless the injury was serious, many workers prefer to move on and forget the incident.

Company culture: When it comes to injuries, some company cultures encourage all injuries, large or small, to be reported; however, other company cultures emphasize service and performance over injury reporting.

“The big problem about not reporting injuries or trying to deemphasize them is that it makes it more likely that they will happen again,” says Segura.

“Instead of pushing injuries under the table, contractors need to put more emphasis on training and education. Ultimately, that is the best way to keep injuries from happening.”