6 Common Near Misses in Facilities Maintenance and Cleaning

We can all appreciate the hard work of maintenance workers, janitors and cleaners to keep our homes and workspaces effective. Unfortunately near misses—incidents narrowly avoiding potential harm or damage—remain a concern for them as well.

By highlighting these near misses, we can fortify safety protocols, protect workers, and ensure the efficiency of facility management practices. Here are six of the most common near misses in facilities maintenance and cleaning:

1. Slips, Trips, and Falls

Within the dynamic environment of facilities maintenance, slips, trips, and falls are pervasive hazards. Near misses may involve instances where workers narrowly avoid stumbling over cords, slipping on wet floors, or tripping over clutter. Diligent housekeeping, prompt spill cleanup, and the use of signage to highlight potential hazards are essential for preventing such incidents.

2. Electrical Hazards

Facilities often rely on electrical systems to power essential equipment and lighting. Near misses involving electrical hazards may include incidents where workers narrowly avoid electric shocks, arc flashes, or equipment malfunctions. Regular inspections, proper grounding, and adherence to electrical safety standards are vital for mitigating these risks.

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3. Chemical Exposure Incidents

Cleaning tasks frequently involve the use of chemical agents, which can pose risks of skin irritation, respiratory issues, or chemical burns if not handled properly. Near misses may involve instances where workers narrowly avoid exposure to harmful chemicals through the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) or proper ventilation.

4. Equipment Malfunctions

Facilities maintenance often requires the use of specialized equipment, such as power tools, pressure washers, or lifts. Near misses may occur when equipment malfunctions are detected and addressed before causing harm or damage. Regular maintenance, equipment inspections, and operator training are crucial for preventing equipment-related incidents.

5. Height-related Risks

Tasks involving work at height, such as window cleaning or roof repairs, present significant risks of falls and injuries. Near misses may involve incidents where workers narrowly avoid falls by using appropriate fall protection measures or safely navigating elevated surfaces. Comprehensive training in fall prevention and the use of proper safety equipment are essential for minimizing height-related risks.

6. Inadequate Ergonomics

Facilities maintenance and cleaning tasks can place strain on workers' bodies, leading to musculoskeletal injuries or repetitive strain injuries. Near misses may involve instances where workers narrowly avoid ergonomic hazards, such as improper lifting techniques or awkward postures, through the implementation of ergonomic principles and regular breaks to rest and stretch.

Final thoughts

By recognizing and addressing these common near misses, facilities management professionals can enhance safety practices, protect workers, and maintain the integrity of the facilities they oversee. Emphasizing thorough risk assessments, providing comprehensive training, and fostering a culture of safety awareness are essential for preventing accidents and near misses in facilities maintenance and cleaning. Through continuous improvement and a commitment to safety, facilities can remain safe, functional, and welcoming environments for all who use them.

Are you looking for a mobile solution to tackle building inspections on the go? The Falcony | Platform is an easy-to-use tool for all field inspection and audit needs. Take advantage of our 30-day FREE TRIAL to experience it today:

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