CLEANINGWORKERS are found in every setting and the work that they do is essential in every industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2005), more than 4 million people are employed as cleaning workers in the U.S., many working in low paying, temporary or part-time jobs, with little opportunity for training or advancement. Much of the work is performed in the evening or at night, and many of these workers also have another job, attend school or perform other duties during the day. These working conditions combine to create a high turnover rate---estimated to be as high as 300% (Valentine & C&MM Staff, 1998; SEIU, 2006). Cleaning work creates exposure to many hazards, including wet floors, working on ladders, use of chemicals and motor vehicle accidents. Cleaning workers also are exposed to risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as lifting, carrying, awkward postures, repetitive motions and high hand forces. These exposures result in a high rate of injuries. According to Washington state workers' compensation data from the Department of Labor and Industries (DLI, 2006), cleaning workers have an annual incidence rate of 10.4 new injury claims per 100 full-time equivalents (FTEs), while the overall service industry sector in Washington has an incidence rate of 5.8 per 100 FTEs and the general industry incidence rate is 6.9 per 100 FTEs. By way of comparison, BLS (2005) reports a recordable injury incidence rate of 3.9 per 100 FTEs for janitorial services, which is less than the national incidence rate for all of private industry (4.6 per 100 FTEs). The large difference in numbers between Washington state and national injury rates may be explained by underreporting of injuries in BLS statistics (Leigh, Marcin & Miller, 2004). A review of Washington state workers' compensation data (DLI, 2006) reveals that the largest single category of injury and illness claims among cleaning workers is overexertion, followed by struck by and against, and falls. Exposure to chemicals and motor vehicle accidents were also significant categories of interest (Figure 1, p. 22). Looking at severity of claims, overexertion and falls accounted for the most days of time loss, while many of the struck by and against claims appear to be of low severity, accounting for a relatively small percentage of all time loss days (Figure 2, p. 22). Overexertion claims, primarily MSDs, were reported as occurring in all phases of cleaning work, while many of the falls were reported as occurring while working on ladders, while sweeping or vacuuming stairs, or while mopping floors. Each phase of cleaning work presents unique risk factors for MSDs. Fortunately, much attention has been focused on MSDs in cleaning work and new technologies offer opportunities to reduce the risk of injury. This article reviews risk factors present in common cleaning tasks and describes some solutions. Risk factors and some potential solutions are summarized in (figure in paper) Dusting & Scrubbing One risk factor introduced by dusting and scrubbing with cloths and brushes is awkward postures, especially reaching overhead, and bending, kneeling or squatting to clean at floor level.

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