Wash. State Legislation Pushes Safety For Sanitation Workers
Legislation aimed at protecting sanitation workers has been introduced in the Washington state senate, according to an article on the Peninsula Daily News website.
Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 6227, which would require the state Department of Labor and Industries (DLI) to conduct a study by the end of 2022 that examines the greatest safety and health risks associated with commercial sanitation work.
The move was instigated by a DLI work group’s findings that janitors are at greater risk of injury than service workers in other industries.
The Janitorial Workload, Health, and Safety Work Group found that women, first-year workers and those with a first language other than English filed more compensable claims than all other demographics.
The work group recommended that training and access to safety information be improved, along with identification of safety issues.
According to the article, Lulu Carillo, a janitor at Valley Medical Center in Redmond, testified at the Senate hearing that she is encouraged to skip her breaks at work. Carillo said she was diagnosed in 2016 with a growing hernia that required a $70,000 surgery.
An estimated 20 percent of all workplace injuries are injuries to the back, according to an article on “must have” items on a cleaning company’s safety checklist.
Fall protection, as well as hearing protection are also on the list. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires fall protection equipment whenever a worker climbs four feet above the floor or works at a building's edge; this could include platforms, scaffolding, etc.
OSHA also requires ear plugs/coverings to be worn if workers are exposed to "average" decibel exposure (about 85 decibels) for eight hours or longer.
Read the full article.
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