Every custodial manager has experienced a time when they've asked their staff to perform a task, and the end result was worse off then when they started. Workers that aren't properly trained to perform cleaning tasks can cost the custodial department considerably in time and money. Here are a few mistakes every manager should avoid:

1. Failing to verify that a workers knows how to operate a simple floor machine (side by side - 175 RPM buffer) before sending them out to work on a floor. The well intentioned new hire, who claimed to know how to operate a "buffer" damaged a sheet rock wall, scraped the floor tiles and injured his wrist when he tried to force the 1 1/2 horsepower machine to go in the direction he intended. Of course, the more he leaned on it the faster it traveled as it continued out of control. He later admitted that when asked if he knew how to operate a buffer, he thought the interviewer was referring to a car polisher and had not experience with a floor machine. Simply taking a few moments to have him demonstrate what he claimed could have saved hundreds of dollars, a workers compensation claim and major embarrassment with the customer.

2. Expecting untrained workers to perform tasks safely and effectively can have disastrous results. One of the worst examples I can think of is a worker asking how much his floor machine should "tingle" when he was scrubbing floors. It turns out that the only thing protecting him from electrocution was a good pair of insulated boots. Not only was the ground plug missing but the cord was taped in several areas that allowed moisture to get in. He had reported the electric outlets tripping on a regular basis but no one took the time to investigate.

Training, follow up and supervision are investments that can return on the investment many times over.

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.