We talk about it often, but improving worker safety is possibly one of the most important parts of our jobs.

OSHA (the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration) was created in 1970 to help employees reduce injuries, illnesses and deaths on the job in America. Since then, workplace fatalities have been cut by more than 60 percent and injury and illness rated have declined more than 40 percent. As employment increases, OSHA is determined to keep protecting workers from any and all unnecessary risks. They are constantly on task to identify and promote the most effective ways to not only prevent fatalities but also injuries and illness. Their approach is that a healthy workers is a productive worker.

When you think of custodial operations and realize the many hazards and risks that about in this occupation, you should accept the reality that OSHA can be a friend or your worst nightmare. Some of the risks our workers face include slip/falls, back injuries, chemical/dust exposure, blood borne pathogens, hand/eye injuries, carpal tunnel injuries, electric shock and many more. The list goes on which makes being a custodian a job that is high on OSHA's watch list. With the millions of custodians across the country engaged in different tasks day and night, the savvy company accepts their part in keeping them safe and productive.

Benefits to having healthy, productive workers include lower workers compensation rates, reduced medical expenses (yes, you have to pay), reduced payout for return-to-work programs and lower costs for accommodating injured workers.

As I repeatedly suggest, go to www.osha.gov for the latest in safety. We will cover the basics in a future article.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.