You probably haven’t given it too much of a thought, but cleaning is actually quite a hazardous activity. A number of accidents can occur with serious consequences. You don’t have to be a professional cleaner to know the risks and most importantly how to prevent cleaning accidents at home or at work.
The most obvious cleaning accident that comes to mind is slipping on a wet surface. That’s why we see those yellow plastic signs in shops, offices, hospitals and all sorts of other public places. A slip can be fairly harmless if you are lucky enough. Sometimes, slipping and falling on a wet surface only results in a few bruises and a sore area of the body. However, more serious slipping accidents can lead to a broken arm or a leg.
How to prevent: First of all, always take caution when you are cleaning, especially in an area with a wet surface. Wearing slip-resistant shoes is a great way to protect yourself from an unfortunate fall. You can find those in various shoe shops like Shoe Zone and online on Amazon.
2. Back sprain
If you slip but in your attempt to not fall you twist your body too fast, you can cause a sprain. Usually, this is quite an uncomfortable and painful condition which may go away within a few days or weeks, but in other cases may require medical attention. Such cleaning accident is also caused by lifting heavy objects.
How to prevent: Be cautious about your movements and avoid lifting heavy loads on your own. Ask someone to help you or if this isn’t an option at the given time, work around the area until you can get some assistance.
3. Head injuries
Another very common cleaning accident is a head injury. This can happen in various ways. It could happen from a slip and fall, or a heavy object falling on your head. In other cases, a head injury can occur if you are kneeling down to clean a surface close to the floor and suddenly stand up without realising there is a solid object over your head.
How to prevent: When cleaning the lower parts of furniture that isn’t very stable, make sure you remove heavy objects from its top. Also, avoid sudden movements and look up before you stand up.
4. Electric shock
Scary enough, a lot of people don’t even think of this cleaning accident. Improper cleaning of electric sockets with damp or wet cloth or sponge can kill you. Water is an electrical conductor so it should never come in contact with a source of electricity.
How to prevent: Usually, during the end of tenancy cleaning, you will be required to clean the sockets as well. Do it very carefully with rubber gloves and do not let any dampness go into the socket holes. Another option would be to book a professional end of tenancy cleaning service and stay safe.
Cleaning with some chemicals like bleach or those containing ammonia can cause serious breathing difficulties and even suffocation. In some cases, your respiratory system can become permanently damaged.
How to prevent: Always allow fresh air to flow when you use cleaning products containing strong chemicals. Open the windows and doors. In bathrooms, where sometimes ventilation is poor, always wear a mask over your nose and mouth.
6. Chemical burns
Some chemicals can cause serious burns if they come in contact with your skin. Depending on the length of exposure or contact with the chemical, those burns can leave permanent scarring or even damage a nerve or an internal organ.
How to prevent: Use gloves every single time you handle cleaning chemicals. Cover as much as possible of your body with clothes to avoid direct contact if a spillage occurs.
A very common cleaning accident is getting cut by a sharp object. This could be a broken glass or something that is sticking out of the wall or floor and you haven’t noticed it.
How to prevent: Wearing gloves will help in the prevention of any cuts during cleaning and wearing the appropriate shoes (non-slippery rubber shoes) will protect your feet. Other than that, always make sure the floor is free of any small object before you start cleaning.
Sometimes, the above cleaning accident can lead to another one – infection. If you cut yourself on a rusty wire this almost certainly will cause an infection. Also touching bacteria contaminated surfaces with bare hands can have the same outcome.
How to prevent: If you cut yourself on something rusty, apply alcohol on the wound immediately and seek medical assistance to prevent an infection. Don’t ever clean the kitchen and bathroom without wearing gloves as these are the two most common places at home where bacteria thrive.
9. Cleaning chemical fire
Little known fact by most non-professional cleaners is that cleaning products that have expired can cause a chemical fire which is always very hard to put out. In this instance, prevention is way better than cure.
How to prevent: Don’t use cleaning products that are more than 6 months old and haven’t been used to this point. If you have used it before, 6 months should be your cut off point for safely disposing of it.
10. Eye damage
The 10th cleaning accident we are listing is very dangerous, but unfortunately quite common. When handling cleaning products, your eyes can get damaged. Sometimes it can occur from the fumes that emanate from the chemicals. In other cases, a drop of the chemical can splash into your eyes, which can cause permanent blindness.
How to prevent: Wear protective glasses which are available in industrial stores and online.
The most important thing to prevent cleaning accidents is to be mindful of everything you do. Cleaning isn’t an easy job, even though most of us see it as a regular chore. It is also why professional cleaners undergo special health and safety training before they are allowed to work on site.