Man worker with back injury, concept of accident at work

Many studies indicate that during the first three months on the job, new workers have an increased chance of having a job-related injury. This applies to workers in most all types of workplaces, including custodial workers.

However, according to Ron Segura, President of Segura & Associates, which helps contract cleaning companies streamline their business operations, another peak in workplace injuries occurs when workers have their one year anniversary on the job.

“During the first few months of work, new hires are typically watched closely by supervisors and co-workers,” says Segura.  “[And] because of this, they usually are on their best behavior and take the time to do their job safely.”

But then complacency sets in.  “It usually happens about one year into the job.  This is when workers start taking shortcuts.”

To prevent this from happening, Segura advises cleaning contractors and supervisors to do the following:

Keep a “near miss report.” A near miss report lists accidents that happened on the job but fortunately, no one was hurt. “Recording near misses can help prevent such accidents from happening in the future.”

Start a risk index.  This is a listing of all the types of risks that can cause an injury.  They are then ranked starting with how serious the accident is or how often it occurs.

Increase performance evaluations. Often performance evaluations decrease once a worker has been on the job for a year or more. “We actually should increase these evaluations after the one year anniversary. Look to see if the worker is taking shortcuts or doing things that could lead to an accident.”

Encourage teamwork. Workers that work in teams tend to get less fatigued and watch out for each other’s safety. This leads to fewer accidents.

“And notice if there is an uptick in the number of accidents happening with one or more cleaning workers,” adds Segura. “If they are approaching that one-year anniversary, it means it’s time for a performance review.”