WorkSafe WA is focusing on commercial cleaners in its proactive inspection program for the remainder of the financial year.
The inspection program will focus on several areas, including cleaners in shopping centres and carpet cleaners.
The following injury hotspots have been established for the cleaning industry:
- Back – muscle strain from lifting or bending while handling cleaning equipment or from repetitive cleaning actions
- Arm – muscle strains from lifting and handling cleaning equipment or from repetitive cleaning actions
- Forearm/wrist – muscle strain from repetitive cleaning activities, and fractures from falling or tripping on wet floors or down stairs
- Leg- fractures and traumatic joint or muscle injury from tripping over objects, falling down steps or slipping on wet floors
- Shoulder – muscle strain from lifting and handling cleaning equipment or from repetivive cleaning actions;
- Knee – traumatic joint/muscle injury from slipping on soiled floors or tripping over obstacles, muscle strain from kneeling, climbing or pushing or pulling equipment or trolleys;
- Hand/fingers – lacerations from cleaning sharp tools, equipment and machinery, needlestick injuries and exposure to chemicals and hot or cold materials
- Ear – hearing loss from long-term exposure to noisy cleaning equipment
WorkSafe WA Director Joe Attard said high number of work-related injuries in the commercial cleaning industry prompted the inspection.
“The Cleaning Services industry has averaged just under 140 lost-time injuries per year over the past five years, with more than 40 of these injuries classified as severe, resulting in more than 60 days lost from work,” said Mr Attard.
“The most common injuries to cleaners result from manual tasks – cleaners often work in awkward positions, and many tasks involve heavy manual work in tight timeframes. The most hazardous manual tasks include vacuuming, mopping and moving rubbish, furniture and equipment.
“During this inspection program, inspectors will be looking closely at manual tasks, slips, trips and falls, electrical safety hazardous substances, machinery safety, noise and working at heights.
“They will also look at evacuation procedures, infectious diseases, violence and aggression and issues with asbestos.”
The program will be implemented in both metropolitan and regional areas across the state.
“During this program, inspectors will work with the aid of a checklist to ensure consistency,” said Mr Attard.
“Stakeholders such as employer groups and unions have been informed of the program, so employers should be aware of what is required of them if visited by a WorkSafe inspector.
“As with all WorkSafe inspection programs, raising awareness is the main objective but inspectors will take enforcement action if they find breaches of the laws.”
More information about this inspection program is available on the WorkSafe website or by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307 877.