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Building Cleaning Chemical Safety

According to famous author John Skow, when done right, cleaning can be deadly. This is true more so than ever when it comes to cleaning an office. Often, office cleaners are expected not only to vacuum carpets, empty trash cans, and dust tables and desks, but in many cases must wash toilets, sinks, and other areas where dirt, bacteria, and other pathogen-content is high. For these areas, office cleaners often rely on the use of high quality chemicals and detergents, many of which are intended for industrial use. While these products are often effective at ensuring a sanitized and anti-septic workspace, they can often be quite dangerous for the individuals using them—as well as for the people who work in the office or facility being cleaned. For optimal results when working with cleaning chemicals, office cleaners should be sure to understand the dangers, use appropriate safety gear, read labels, avoid chemical interaction, and store chemicals properly. Individuals who need on-going assistance when it comes to using cleaning chemicals should consult with company managers or other leaders in the field.

Understand the Dangers

Understanding the dangers of cleaning chemicals is essential for all individuals involved in commercial building cleaning. Often, individuals engaged in commercial cleaning services experience lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, and eye irritation. In more severe cases, the improper use of these chemicals can lead to severe skin burns, blindness, respiratory distress, and a number of other, potentially life-threatening conditions. Individuals who participate in commercial building cleaning should be aware of and on the lookout for these symptoms, which require immediate medical attention. In most cases, the side effects of cleaning chemical use can be found on the side of the bottle, package, or container from which the product came.

Use Appropriate Safety Gear

Using appropriate safety gear is also important for commercial building cleaning companies. While some products may necessitate only the use of moderate amounts of ventilation, such as that provided by an open window or fan, other chemicals require goggles, protective gloves, face masks, or a number of other, similar items. Most chemicals provide suggestions as to the appropriate types of protective gear required when using the item in question. Employees of commercial cleaning services who are not provided with the appropriate types of protective equipment should avoid the use of especially toxic chemicals.

Understanding the dangers of cleaning chemicals is essential for all individuals involved in commercial building cleaning.

Read Labels

Carefully and thoroughly reading labels can be an effective way for an office cleaner to prevent potential injuries. As stated above, a label which identifies possible side effects must be placed on all chemicals used by members of the general public. In addition, this label is also expected to feature information about necessary protective equipment, storing instructions, product lifespan, and effective uses. An office cleaner who cannot locate this information on the side of a cleaning chemical should discard the product in the proper manner as soon as possible. Depending on the specific chemical in question, it may be thrown in the garbage, may need to be incinerated, or might require disposal of another manner altogether.

Avoid Chemical Interaction

Avoiding chemical interaction is also quite important when it comes to the safety of both building maintenance employees and other, non-janitorial members of the staff. When two chemicals are combined—either intentionally or unintentionally—they can interact, leading to the development of events that can potentially be quite dangerous. For example, in some cases, this interaction can lead to the creation of toxic fumes or product combustion. To avoid this development, building maintenance employees should always avoid mixing chemicals, even if they have done so in the past. Two of the same type of chemicals—that are stored in different containers—should also never be combined, as their chemical make-up may be slightly different.

Store Chemicals Appropriately

Finally, chemicals must be stored properly by building maintenance employees to avoid possibly dangerous consequences. Chemicals that are not stored properly can potentially interact, leading to many of the events listed above. An office cleaner who has questions regarding proper chemical storage should consult with managerial staff. In most cases, the leaders of commercial cleaning services will have significant amounts of experience when it comes to the proper storage of a variety of different types of cleaning chemicals.

Individuals who are interested in learning more about the importance of following safety measures during cleaning should consult the following websites:

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