I encountered a company that suddenly has had an increase in workers compensation and sick leave claims that has increased their “hidden” costs, thereby impacting their bottom line across the board with all their accounts. I consider a “hidden cost” a controllable expense that is made worse by poor custodial practices. Although I do not pretend to be a safety expect, I did make some basic observations after reviewing their current tools and processes.

First of all, I recommended to them that they invite their insurance carrier to conduct a “safety audit” that could possibly highlight processes that are contributing to their increase in claims. Most insurance carriers either have staff members or can bring in SMEs (subject matter experts) certified to provide guidance on how best to reduce injuries. A quality insurance carrier can bring a lot of “free” expertise to the table thereby reducing their actual costs when overall savings are taken into account.

In a brief review of their current practices, I noted that several workers complained about respiratory, wrist and back issues. The contractor is not helping their cause by failing to train their workers in the safest, most effective way of conducting different tasks. For instance, one vacuum cleaner was full to the brim with dust and particulate matter. Not only did it cause the worker to strain their wrist and elbow but also spread dust that was escaping from a full bag that had not been dumped.

I also observed workers using 30-32 ounce mops that can be very heavy when not wrung out. Most were pushing back and forth rather than using a figure eight pattern. A microfiber flat mop system weighs a lot less. I also noticed that the rest room carts had the short (approximately 9-10 inch) bowl swabs that not only forced the cleaner to bend excessively but also exposed themselves to the polluted mists generated during the toilet cleaning process. How much is the contractor really saving by going cheap?

Cheaper is not always the least expensive.

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.