The cleaning profession has been associated with multiple ergonomic and chemical hazards which elevate the risk for occupational injury.
This study investigated the epidemiology of occupational injury among cleaners in healthcare work settings in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
Incidents of occupational injury among cleaners, resulting in lost time from work or medical care, over a period of 1 year in two healthcare regions were extracted from a standardized operational database and with person-years obtained from payroll data. Detailed analysis was conducted using Poisson regression modeling.
A total of 145 injuries were identified among cleaners, with an annual incidence rate of 32.1 per 100 person-years. After adjustment for age, gender, subsector, facility, experience and employment status, Poisson regression models demonstrated that a significantly higher relative risk (RR) of all injury, musculoskeletal injury and cuts was associated with cleaning work in acute care facilities, compared with long-term care facilities. Female cleaners were at a higher RR of all injuries and contusions than male cleaners. A lower risk of all injury and allergy and irritation incidents among part-time or casual workers was found. Cleaners with >10 years of experience were at significantly lower risk for all injury, contusion and allergy and irritation incidents.
Cleaners were found to be at an elevated risk of all injury categories compared with healthcare workers in general.