WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE JANITORIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY
Workers’ compensation insurance for janitorial services cost on average slightly above the median cost of work comp coverage. Janitorial services can obtain coverage readily from the various work comp insurers.
Janitorial services can be found in every state, every city and in most towns. Most janitorial services tend to small in the number of permanent employees, but with a few large companies with large payrolls.
Physical hazards include:
- Exposure to cleaning chemicals
- Slips and falls
- Strains from manual labor
Due to the small size of most janitorial services, safety programs normally do not exist.
The workforce is constantly changing due to low pay levels at most janitorial services. Most of the employees have:
- Low levels of education
- Only a limited understanding of workers’ compensation insurance
- No loyalty to the employer due to their short duration of employment.
One Unusual Issue
One unusual issue with these services is that:
- If an employee is injured their relatives may work in their place to cover their shifts until they are well, so there is no loss of income to the family.
- As a result, injuries may be under-reported and under-treated. This is particularly true for large scale janitorial services.
The employees of janitorial services have a disproportionate number of musculoskeletal injuries from lifting and repetitive motions. Medical care for the employees is normally readily available within the community where the janitorial services are performed. The selection of the medical provider by the employer or the employee is dependent upon the state statute.
Indemnity benefit payments for janitorial service employees average lower than the overall average for all industries due to the low wage rates earned. There is a higher level of back strains and other musculoskeletal injuries among janitorial employees resulting in a higher frequency of disability benefits.
Some Categories Related To Janitorial Services
Some categories related to janitorial services that would have the same or similar work comp issues include:
- Trash collectors
- Window cleaners
- Lawn care services
- Laundry and dry-cleaning services
- Domestic servants
- Pest control services
- Chore services
Transitional / Modified Duties in the Janitorial Services Industry
Depending on the size and type of janitorial service, job modification may be possible. In cases where an employer cannot accommodate, placement with a non-profit agency should be considered to keep the employee active, engaged and more focused on being productive than at home dwelling on an injury and disability.
If there is an applicable union contract, be sure to review the terms to verify modified duty is not prohibited or restricted. Examples of job accommodation include:
Sample Transitional Duty Jobs in the Janitorial Services Industry
Trash Collector: Place garbage cans on wheels for easier maneuvering and require a two person lift for employee’s with lifting restrictions or extra heavy garbage cans.
Laundry or Dry Cleaning: Allow restricted employees to deliver clean clothes in bundles, size and weight within physician assigned abilities.
Chore Service: Allow restricted employees to perform tasks within physician assigned abilities such as running errands or making telephone calls.