Effectuality of cleaning workers' training and cleaning enterprises' chemical health hazard risk profiling
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSafety and Health at Work. 2015, 6 (4), 345-352. 10.1016/j.shaw.2015.10.003
Background Goal-oriented communication of risk of hazards is necessary in order to reduce risk of workers' exposure to chemicals. Adequate training of workers and enterprise priority setting are essential elements. Cleaning enterprises have many challenges and the existing paradigms influence the risk levels of these enterprises. Methods Information on organization and enterprises' prioritization in training programs was gathered from cleaning enterprises. A measure of enterprises' conceptual level of importance of chemical health hazards and a model for working out the risk index (RI) indicating enterprises' conceptual risk level was established and used to categorize the enterprises. Results In 72.3% of cases, training takes place concurrently with task performances and in 67.4% experienced workers conduct the trainings. There is disparity between employers' opinion on competence level of the workers and reality. Lower conceptual level of importance was observed for cleaning enterprises of different sizes compared with regional safety delegates and occupational hygienists. Risk index values show no difference in risk level between small and large enterprises. Conclusion Training of cleaning workers lacks the prerequisite for suitability and effectiveness to counter risks of chemical health hazards. There is dereliction of duty by management in the sector resulting in a lack of competence among the cleaning workers. Instituting acceptable easily attainable safety competence level for cleaners will conduce to risk reduction, and enforcement of attainment of the competence level would be a positive step.