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4 common risks to professional cleaners

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2023 | Workplace Accidents

Anyone who does janitorial, housekeeping or another kind of cleaning work for a living knows what a grueling job it can be. It’s a profession filled with other risks as well. 

If you work for an employer who places a priority on safe working conditions and proper protective gear, you’re better off than many people. It’s important to understand the most common hazards that professional cleaners face. Whether you’re cleaning hotel rooms, offices, hospitals or labs, you’re bound to encounter just about all of them at some point.

Biological and chemical hazards

Chemical hazards are usually more common because of the strong cleaning products most professional cleaners use. They can be dangerous to the skin and the respiratory system. Biological hazards like infectious pathogens are most likely to be found in health care settings, but it’s possible to run across them anywhere, especially if you’re dealing with trash.

Poor air quality

Most professional cleaners go to work after everyone else has gone home. That means the HVAC system that controls the ventilation along with the indoor temperature is likely to be off. That means cleaners are breathing in stale, uncirculated air. This also increases the dangers of fumes from cleaning products.

Physical hazards

Cleaning is, of course, a highly strenuous activity. Repeated bending, lifting, stretching and reaching into small areas can cause muscle strains and tears. Of course, the risk of falls on floors that are freshly mopped (or have spills) as well as the risk of tripping over equipment cords and debris left by others is significant.

Physical violence

Sadly, physical and sexual violence are all too prevalent in this industry – particularly against female workers. The perpetrators are sometimes their supervisors or co-workers. They can also be people they come across while they’re doing their job. In fact, increasingly, hotels are providing housekeeping and other staff with panic buttons to use if they’re being threatened or assaulted by a guest.

Too many people who suffer a work-related injury or illness don’t know about workers’ compensation or allow themselves to be discouraged from seeking it. An employer can’t legally retaliate against an employee for obtaining workers’ comp to cover medical costs and help cover lost wages if they have to be off work. If you’re having difficulty getting the benefits to which you’re entitled, it may be wise to seek legal guidance.


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Verdicts & Settlements

36-year-old laborer for landscaping company fractured wrist when fellow employee hit him with truck. Claimant received in excess of $30,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for total disability and medical expenses and settled with automobile insurance company for fellow employee for $95,000.

1989 workers’ compensation claim settled for $125,000. Claimant originally sustained a low back injury when she slipped and fell at local grocery store resulting in low back surgery in 1989. Several years later, claimant exacerbated her low back injury. Claim was reopened and settled with carrier for $125,000 in 2006.

47-year-old deli clerk sustained low back injuries at work for local supermarket. Carrier originally denied claim on the grounds that the injury was pre-existing. After formal workers’ compensation hearing carrier accepted claim and paid all total disability benefits and medical expenses in excess of $100,000. Case then settled for an additional $100,000 after injured person received a permanent disability rating.

34-year-old male roofer sustained multiple injuries to his shoulder, neck, back and hip when he fell from roof during work. Claimant was provided workers’ compensation benefits in excess of $100,000 and settled remaining claims for an additional $55,000.

40-year-old male working for cleaning company sustained neck and low back injuries when he fell on defective staircase while cleaning local museum. Claimant recovered over $95,000 in workers’ compensation benefits and resolved claim against museum for $85,000.

26-year-old laborer sustained fractured foot when a cast iron pipe was dropped on his foot. Employer and workers’ compensation carrier denied claim on basis that injured worker was an independent contractor. After a series of informal and formal workers’ compensation hearings, carrier conceded that claimant was an employee and settled case for $85,000.

24-year-old waitress sustained back injury while working at Outback Steak House. Workers’ compensation insurance company initially denied the claim. After a series of informal hearings, carrier accepted claim paying medical expenses and total disability benefits. In addition to those benefits paid, claim settled for an additional $75,000.

Delivery truck driver sustained right wrist fracture in rear-end motor vehicle accident while in the course of his employment. Claimant recovered in excess of $40,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses and total disability benefits. Claimant settled case against at-fault driver for $105,000.

22-year-old male working as stocking clerk at “big box” retailer sustained herniated disc in low back. Workers’ compensation carrier refused to accept the claim. After formal workers’ compensation, hearing commissioner ordered carrier to pay over $35,000 in past total disability benefits and pay for surgery and all related medical expenses. Case settled for an additional $35,000 for a total recovery in excess of $100,000.

Rear-end collision on entrance ramp to Merritt Parkway resulting in 49-year-old woman sustaining mid-back injury. Case settled at mediation after filing suit for $300,000.

28-year-old passenger sustained multiple herniated discs in automobile accident in New York state. New York no-fault carrier paid for extended period of disability from work and medical expenses, including expenses for surgery. Case settled against driver of vehicle for $300,000 policy limits shortly after filing suit.

54-year-old man sustains shoulder injury when hit from behind by uninsured motorist on New Jersey Turnpike. Case settled for $135,000 prior to trial.

CT Transit bus driver sustained torn meniscus in collision with another vehicle. Claims made against at-fault driver, workers’ compensation carrier and client’s underinsured motorist policy. All claims settle for a recovery in excess of $100,000.

68-year-old woman sustained neck and back injuries in rear-end collision and required extended course physical therapy, but was not a surgical candidate. Case settled for $100,000 prior to filing suit.

34-year-old woman sustained concussion and neck and back injuries in hit-and-run accident on a New York highway. Claimant settled uninsured motorist claim for her $100,000 policy limits.

80-year-old woman sustained right foot fracture when her foot was run over in a parking lot. Case settled for at-fault driver’s policy limit of $100,000 prior to filing suit.

38-year-old nanny sustained right femur fracture when she fell down defective stairs in home of her employer’s neighbor. All medical expenses and lost wages reimbursed and case settled for an additional $150,000.

Claim against landlord for defective staircase in multi-family rental house. Claimant sustained a right femur fracture. Case settled for $125,000 prior to filing suit.

$95,000 judgment obtained against bar and nightclub for assault by one of its patrons against another patron.

47-year-old woman sustained a broken left wrist when she fell from porch stairs at house she was renting. Case settled for $95,000 shortly before trial.

26-year-old male bitten on leg by German shepherd. Claim against dog owner settled for $65,000 plus payment of all medical expenses.