Literature review: The occupational safety and health of cleaning workers

EU & international information
EU
English
2009

Popis

This report provides an overview of the most important issues related to occupational safety and health (OSH) for workers in the cleaning sector in terms of working conditions, risks and prevalence of exposures, and health outcomes, and identifies information gaps and challenges. Cleaning includes a broad range of activities performed in different work environments across all sectors. The risks to which cleaners are exposed depend on the tasks they perform and the premises they work in. As most cleaning work is performed as contract cleaning, employers sometimes face difficulties in managing OSH conditions in the 'host companies' in which their staff work. Accessing information on occupational accidents and diseases remains challenging, as there are cleaning workers in many different sectors and it is therefore difficult to put monitoring systems in place. In addition, a significant part of the cleaning workforce is undeclared, especially in private households, which also complicates data collection. Studies on work-related diseases indicate that musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory diseases, including asthma, skin diseases and mental ill health are the most common work-related health effects found in cleaners, and suggest a higher prevalence of health problems in workers in the cleaning sector than in other sectors.

Other data

Sector / Industry covered: 
Úklidové činnosti
Provider: 
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
Tasks covered: 
Cleaning or Disinfecting
Biological hazard: 
Microbiological hazards (Microorganism)
Biochemical hazards
Fungi
Viruses
Bacteria
Parasites
Zoonoses
Hazard - physical state: 
Aerosols
Dusts
Gases
Liquids
Nanoparticles (airborne liquids/solids including smoke or mist)
Vapours
Hazard - health effects: 
Allergens
Skin sensitisers
Asthmagens
Carcinogens
Irritants
Toxic substances
Infection
Exposure route: 
Dermal contact
Ingestion
Inhalation
Ocular (through eyes)
Sharps and cuts
Skin absorption
Substance Description: 

Chemicals used in cleaning.

CAS Number: 
84-74-2, 93952-11-5
50-00-0, 500-00-0
5989-27-5, 68606-81-5
7782-50-5
141-43-5
7664-38-2
1336-21-6
1310-73-2
108-88-3
111-76-2
139-13-9
9002-88-4
EC number: 
201-557-4
200-001-8
227-813-5
231-959-5
205-483-3
616-646-7
215-647-6
215-185-5
203-625-9
203-905-0
205-355-7
618-339-3
Prevention measures: 
Level 1. Elimination of hazards
Level 1. Substitution
Level 2. Technical measures, e.g. local exhaust ventilation
Level 2. Reducing / minimising the risk by organisational measures, e.g. reducing the number of workers exposed
Level 3. Reducing / minimising the risk by personal measures (PPE)
Training / guidance
Hygiene measures
Purpose of the material: 
General information
Report
Target group: 
Employers
Occupational health physician
OSH consultant
Policy makers
Researchers
Safety officers

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