Little Known Hazards of Cleaning

Having been in the janitorial business for many years, I have heard some wild stories about bad reactions to chemicals and odors in the workplace. Some of these stories are almost humorous while others have highlighted the hazards associated with using potentially dangerous chemicals. The following is one of the most sensational cases I have ever heard.

The Associated Press reported recently that an AT&T call center employee cleaning a refrigerator full of rotten food created a smell so noxious it sent seven co-workers to the hospital and made 28 others ill. Apparently the mixture of old lunches and disinfectant was so strong smelling it caused people to have nausea and even vomiting.

This is a good example of why these kinds of cleaning projects should be left to properly trained cleaning professionals-who are doing these tasks after workers have gone home for the evening. Floor care should also be performed after hours because of strong odors given off by floor cleaners and finishes, not to mention the risk of slip and fall incidents.

Here are a couple of helpful hints for you do it yourself types. Never mix chemicals when cleaning-especially bleach and amonia. These two chemicals are present in nearly every household, but when combined give off chlorine gas which is deadly. Always wear latex gloves and eye protection and always work in well ventilated areas. Also, if you have an old refrigerator that is empty and unplugged, leave the door propped slightly ajar. An airtight, warm refrigerator will very quickly grow tremendous amounts of mold and mildew. That would create a cleaning job that even that AT&T employee would probably pass on.

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