Cleaners' OSH situation and improvement measures

Cleaners have an important, though often under-acknowledged, role in our lives.
Their work helps keep our public areas (e.g. school, hospitals, restaurants),
private homes and workplaces clean, and helps extend the life of buildings,
machines and equipment. In 2012 the cleaning sector generated more than EUR
64.5 billion and employed more than 3.32 million people. A new OSHwiki article
examines the occupational trends, health and safety considerations, workplace
hazards and potential preventative measures linked to cleaners.

Written by Klaus Kuhl from Kooperationsstelle Hamburg IFE GmbH in Germany, the
article is divided into several parts. After describing types of tasks
performed by cleaners, Kuhl outlines several trends currently observed in the
cleaning sector. For example, one of the largest trends is increasing
rationalisation, in which workers are being asked to do more in less time -
this creates greater work intensity and lower income rates. Additional trends -
such as subcontracting, a high concentration of female and migrant workers, and
precarious working conditions - point to several occupational safety and health
(OSH) risks.

The OSH risks translate into numerous workplace hazards that can be physical
(higher risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders) or psychological (low
self-esteem). The article concludes with prevention and control measures
workers and employers can take to improve the safety of cleaners. Reference is
also made to EU-OSHA's OiRA tools, developed for micro and small businesses to
perform risk assessment, and to different legal considerations at the European

More information

AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work