man in a warm plaid warms himself on a light foyer, flu, bad health

A reader writes: "I am concerned about my janitorial crews contracting the flu and being unable to come into work. Any suggestions on how to protect them?"

You have reason to be concerned since too many of our workers are not really trained in how to protect themselves not only on the job but when they are off the job as well. I suggest you utilize a search engine and/or your vendor to research this subject and implement training when appropriate. We will first consider on the job precautions:

  1. Use appropriate PPE's (personal protective equipment) including gloves so that workers are not unnecessarily exposed to pathogens that they can pick up in day to day tasks.
  2. Train workers on the importance of washing their hands often both with and without gloves. Although there is some debate in this area, be sure they use appropriate hand cleaners and take the time to rinse and dry their hands often.
  3. Provide and encourage them to use hand sanitizers often when unable to thoroughly wash their hands.
  4. Train workers not to have food or open containers on their cart since even air borne contaminants can get into their drinks or food. They should eat and drink in break rooms or other designated areas.
  5. Conduct refresher training on the importance of utilizing correct procedures in dwell time, touch points and overall disinfecting of surfaces.
  6. Don't come to work if they have or may be getting the flu or other contagious condition.

A few other points for home are:

  1. Monitor family and children of school age closely since many contagions are spread through innocent contact at school and brought home to the rest of the family.
  2. Remind everyone to wash hands often and/or use hand sanitizers.
  3. Teach everyone how to cough into their sleeve or better still, a handkerchief.

These are some general suggestions for a typical office area and home setting. Precautions for clinics, hospitals and other high-risk areas may require enhanced guidelines. We want to keep our workers healthy so they can keep our customers healthy.

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