Frontline workers attend regularly scheduled classes on safety training; how to read Material Safety Data Sheets, soon to be replaced by the Safety Data Sheet from the Globally Homogenized System, and how to lift a box. These are much needed skills and we need to be continually schooled on them and others. However, in today’s world we need to be increasingly aware of safety and security issues which are almost always ignored. This ignorance comes from a lack of knowledge of the issues. 

Research has shown that in many cases of intrusion, a maintenance staff individual is one of the first individuals to come in contact with these threats to the public safety of our facilities. Here are a few areas of which any frontline staff member should be mindful of.

• Do not block open doors with security locks on them. Always be sure to have your back to a wall and not an open door if possible when performing duties.

• Carry keys to doors outside of public view. Exposed rings of keys make you a target for an intruder.

• Know certain "code" words which are understood by other staff as security alert codes and be schooled in the best practices in both chemical and intruder safety.

• Obtain verification of individuals before allowing them into secured building or area, regardless of who they say they are or if you have seen them in the facility before. Insist they go through all security procedures as you or anyone else would.

• Observe and report any suspicious or non-recognizable objects of packages. Be mindful of this when emptying waste cans, especially in public access areas.

• EHS personnel must be a part of any Executive Security Committee in order to address safety and security issues effectively.

• Consult with your facilities security offices to learn about specific details for your location.


David Thompson is a 40-year veteran of the cleaning industry and author of‚ "The New Generation of Cleaning," a best Practices Guide for Environmental Health Services. Thompson is also president of the Green Clean Institute. His book can be found at while the GCI coursework and certification courses have a home at