Safe Handling Of Cleaning ChemicalsJuly 27, 2021
Though it might not be at the top of the list, janitorial work can be one of the more dangerous professions out there. While some jobs are hazardous because of heavy lifting, complicated machinery, or physical exertion, janitors’ most significant hazard is also one of their most commonly used tools; cleaning chemicals.
Commercial janitorial services utilize several different chemicals, cleaners, and solutions in their day-to-day work, and for the most part, these chemicals are relatively safe. However, accidents can always happen, and when it comes to chemicals, accidents are the last thing you want to experience.
At LACOSTA, we know the danger that cleaning crews can sometimes face, which is why our number one priority is always safety, both our team member’s safety and the safety of our clients. In our 32+ years in the commercial cleaning services industry, we have refined our safety measures to maximize the safety of every part involved, and we follow these lessons very carefully.
That being said, everyone should be aware of the dangers cleaning chemicals can pose. By spreading awareness of chemical safety basics, we hope to eliminate even more potential accidents in the future. We’ll go over the basic rules of chemical storage and handling to help keep your work environment safe and clean.
Cleaning Chemical Safety
There are a few keys to chemical safety that we’ll touch on:
- Knowing the chemicals in your cleaning products and how to use them
- Labeling and storing your products clearly
- Keeping products contained and separate
- Using the right tools for the job
We’ll focus on each of these points to make sure you and your company have your bases covered.
Know Your Chemicals
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), there are three distinct types of cleaning products; cleaners, sanitizers, and disinfectants.
- Cleaners – Help remove dirt with scrubbing/wiping.
- Sanitizers – Use chemicals to reduce viruses and bacteria on the surface of items.
- Disinfectants – Use chemicals to destroy microorganisms that cause infection.
These classifications help to determine which chemicals appear in certain products and will help you identify hazardous chemicals with ease. Knowing the chemicals in your products will help you use each product properly and safely and help clean more efficiently, with the correct cleaning solution for each job.
If the first step of cleaning product safety is knowing your chemicals, the second step is knowing how to use them. At LACOSTA, all of our Janitorial Cleaning Service team members are trained thoroughly to use and identify cleaning chemicals properly. This training is continuous and is constantly revamped to stay up to date with new research and methodology.
If you’re hiring a professional janitorial service, you don’t necessarily have to train your staff fully, but it can be helpful to know the basics.
Labeling and Storing
Correct labeling is another significant aspect of cleaning chemical safety. You should always keep products in their original containers, with their original labels. This ensures that there are no mix-ups or accidents and helps identify cleaning products quickly and safely.
For storing purposes, there are only a few specific areas where cleaning chemicals or other toxic materials can be stored. Your storage area should be:
- In a cool, dry area out of the sun. Some chemicals can react to changes in the heat or humidity, and storing them incorrectly can lead to an accident.
- In a well-ventilated area, away from HVAC units or central air vents. Chemical fumes are often toxic and dangerous, so you want to minimize the spread of the fumes as much as possible.
- On a shelf around eye level. You want to have easy access to cleaning chemicals and avoid the danger of accidentally knocking one over. Storing them off the ground and in sight helps both of these dangers.
Chemical storage areas should also include documentation of the products within the area, using a standardized Safety Data Sheet. These sheets disclose any and all hazardous material in a product, and keeping up to date on these is crucial.
Keep Them Separate
This should probably go without saying, but cleaning chemicals should never be mixed. Besides the obvious (mixing dangerous chemicals), keeping your chemicals separate reduces the chances of a mistake. You don’t want to be looking for a heavy-duty, all-purpose cleaner, only to accidentally grab laundry detergent!
A well-organized and managed chemical storage space will help significantly in reducing accidents.
The final step in this rudimentary chemical safety checklist is all about using chemicals properly. Whether it’s for deep cleanings, day-to-day sanitizations, or even a quick window cleaning, a janitorial service company will always use the correct chemicals for each job.
For example, if a restaurant is cleaning every “food contact” surface, they will want to use a sanitizing chemical that won’t be toxic to food. If a janitorial team is cleaning bathrooms, they’ll want to use something a little more substantial on the toilet bowls. It’s all about knowing what’s suitable for any particular job.
In the end, chemical safety is about common sense, patience, knowledge, and responsibility. Even if you never have to deal with cleaning chemicals yourself, this basic knowledge can go a long way to preventing accidents and mistakes. Simply by following the few tips we’ve laid out in this article, you will be well prepared to avoid a cleaning mishap.
While having your own knowledge of cleaning chemical safety is essential, you won’t have to worry about it at all in a LACOSTA janitorial partnership. Our team members are highly trained, thorough, and focused on safety so that you can leave the dirty work to us without worry.
Our cleaning services include everything from day-to-day janitorial service to deep cleaning If you are interested in learning about how our employees and our services can help take your business to the next level, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have.