Occupational hazards experienced by cleaning workers and janitors: a review of the epidemiologic literature.
Charles-LE; Loomis-D; Demissie-Z
Work 2009 Sep; 34(1):105-116
Building cleaners are an important group of workers who experience diverse occupational hazards resulting in health problems. A review of epidemiologic studies conducted between 1981 and 2005 was performed using PubMed and PsychLit, to identify health outcomes and the associated hazards in the work environment of cleaners. Among 35 studies, respiratory diseases (n=17) and dermatologic diseases (n=9) were the most common and were associated with exposure to cleaning agents, wet work, and rubber latex. The potential for infectious diseases (n=3) was identified among cleaners in medical laboratories and was associated with exposure to broken glass and uncapped needles in the trash. Musculoskeletal disorders (n=5) were associated with several physical stressors (e.g., awkward postures, prolonged standing) and psychosocial stressors (e.g., monotonous job, low potential for promotion). Mental disorders (n=1) were also associated with psychosocial stressors and societal stigma. Future studies may be enhanced by better assessment of the specific job exposures of cleaners and implementation of a prospective design.
Biological-factors; Biological-systems; Chemical-cleaning; Chemical-hypersensitivity; Cleaning-compounds; Dermatitis; Disease-incidence; Epidemiology; Ergonomics; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Occupational-exposure; Psychological-effects; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Statistical-analysis; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Work-operations; Work-performance; Work-practices;
Author Keywords: Occupational exposures; cleaning; housekeeping; respiratory disease; low back pain
Luenda E. Charles, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health Effects Laboratory Division, Biostatistics and Epidemiology Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1095 Willowdale Rd, Mail Stop L-4050, Morgantown, WV 26505