26.10.2009

The occupational safety and health of cleaning workers

A new report of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work provides an
overview of the most important issues related to occupational safety and health
(OSH) for cleaning workers in terms of working conditions, risks and prevalence
of exposures and health outcomes, and identifies information gaps and
challenges.

Cleaning includes a broad range of activities performed in different work
environments across all sectors. The risks to which cleaners are exposed
therefore depend on the tasks they perform and the premises they work in. As
most of the cleaning work is performed as contract cleaning, employers
sometimes face difficulties in controlling the OSH conditions in the "host
companies" where their staff work. Accessing information on occupational
accidents and diseases remains challenging as cleaning workers are spread over
different sectors and it is therefore difficult to put monitoring systems in
place.

In addition, a significant part of the cleaning workforce is undeclared,
especially in private households, which also complicates data collection.
Studies on work-related diseases indicate that MSDs, respiratory diseases,
including asthma, skin diseases and mental ill health are the most common
work-related health effects found in cleaners, and suggest a higher prevalence
of health problems in cleaning workers than in other sectors.


More information


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