Inspection program looks at commercial cleaners

WorkSafe WA is conducting a proactive inspection program looking at the safety of commercial cleaners.

The program will focus on cleaners working in a range of areas, including cleaners in shopping centres and carpet cleaners.

WorkSafe Director Joe Attard said the inspection program was prompted by the high number of work-related injuries in the industry.

“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,” Mr Attard said.

“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.”

Eight injury hotspots have been established for the cleaning industry. They are:

  • Back – muscle strain from lifting or bending while handling cleaning equipment or from repetitive cleaning actions;
  • Arm – muscle strain 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 slippery 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 repetitive 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; and
  • Ear – hearing loss from long-term exposure to noisy cleaning equipment.

The inspection program will continue across the remainder of the financial year in both metropolitan and regional areas of the State.

“During this program, inspectors will work with the aid of a checklist to ensure consistency,” Mr Attard said.

“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.”

Further information on workplace safety and health can be obtained at

Source: WorkSafe WA, 25 September 2015