Janitorial Safety: Proper Bending, Lifting and Handling Techniques

In the janitorial industry, training employees and ensuring safety in the workplace are clients’ top priorities. Since janitorial work requires moving among locations, some things are not controllable, and in this lack of control comes injuries. While many custodial injuries are minor, injuries that keep people from working in the industry occur more frequently than one might think.

According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one out of every 96 employees sustain a nonfatal illness or injury that keeps them from performing their jobs. However, there is an easy fix, especially in the janitorial industry. Learning how to bend, lift, and handle items throughout the day is essential for custodial teams in preventing injuries on the job.

Here are some easy bending, lifting and handling steps that they can take to limit risks and improve janitorial safety.

Can You Lift That on Your Own?


Janitorial safety means teams must know they can ask for help, and that they can benefit from it. If staff members aren’t sure if they can lift or handle a task on their own, they should be taught to ask for help or find different ways to move an object. If it feels rooted to the ground, they need to bring in help to take care of it.

Another way janitorial teams can find support is with the right janitorial insurance that protects everyday injuries. This coverage is important to have to mitigate risk and keep teams operating smoothly, even after an injury.

Have a Clear Route


Having to put an object down and then pick it up again because of route obstructions will only put more strain on a worker’s back and muscles. Before any object is picked up, it’s important for staff to ensure they have a clear path free of obstructions and trip hazards. 

Assume the Right Position


Once custodians have a clear route, they should stand next to the object with their feet shoulder-width apart. This is important because it squares their body, which is crucial when trying to avoid a slip, fall, or back injury.

Lift Properly
When janitors reach down to lift and handle an object, they shouldn’t bend over at the waist. Instead, they need to squat down with their knees as the driving support. This keeps their body squared and takes the strain of the lift off the back muscles, which is meant to carry and support, not lift.

Handling Techniques


After picking up an object, janitors need to be sure to handle it properly. They should grasp the object firmly on both sides in a squatting position. Once they have a good hold, they’ll need to pull it tightly to their chest and stand straight up by straightening their knees.

If they begin to stumble forward slightly, they need to put the object back down, dropping it if they need to avoid injury altogether. They must go entirely vertical without bending forward at the waist. It also helps to look forward instead of down, as this helps maintain the right balance and relieves more stress from the back.

Janirotial safety isn’t complicated, but it requires some proper techniques and training to ensure unnecessary injuries don’t occur on the job.

About Tangram Insurance Services


Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, just outside of San Francisco, Tangram Insurance Services is a full-service Managing General Underwriter and Program Manager offering specialty programs. We focus on industry-relevant coverage, competitive pricing, and practical business and risk management solutions for your clients. Since we are not all things to all people, we make sure to create outstanding custom-built solutions that matter to those businesses, and the brokers who serve those industries. Contact us at (888) 744-9810.