COVID-19 is a threat to public health, taking the lives of many in a matter of time, as soon as the first outbreak from Wuhan, China. It is the third leading cause of death in 2020 in the United States. Although many employees of different sectors work from home, there are a number of important workers who must travel to their workplace on a regular basis to perform their duties on the front lines, putting their health at risk.
Aside from medical personnel such as physicians and nurses, no category may be more vulnerable than those tasked with killing germs: janitors.
Janitors count under the essential workers category with those in the front lines – not only do they care of the building in general, and their workload includes more than just mopping, scrubbing and sweeping. They are disinfecting the entirety of the structure until it is virus-free and safe enough for everyone to come into their workplace without worries of being infected.
Cleaning is a daunting process under normal circumstances. However, in the COVID-19 period, keeping it consistent requires constantly applying and reapplying disinfectant to surfaces that people touch, which can mentally exhaust the janitors. It becomes more frustrating when their coworkers are infected, and they will come home thinking if they carry the virus without their awareness and concern over them infecting their family in the household. It was a paranoid experience, considering how badly one can be once they find it hard to breathe properly. It will make them think of something like, “What type of insurance do I need for a cleaning business?”, should there be any danger revolving around them. They need all the benefits as a janitor for all the hard work they put in to keep the building safe and sound from the threatening microorganisms.
Here are the reasons janitors are at higher risk to be infected with the COVID-19 virus:
Janitors Are Officially The Essential Workers
As businesses, classrooms, and government offices reopen in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, janitors and custodians are charged with ensuring health protection by sanitation. The bright side of everything is that the janitors are well-experienced with the custodial as well as other behaviors they are expected to follow to protect themselves from the lethal infection, such as wearing gloves and disinfectant items to clean surfaces, wearing masks, and ensuring as much distance and isolation from raw biological fluid as possible. Another benefit added is ensuring that they have access to flexible sick leave. Over a pandemic, their significance increases, but so do the risks of coronavirus exposure.
Disinfection Of Building Is On High Demand
The coronavirus pandemic is now spreading throughout the world. Initially, the epidemic increased the need for cleaning and disinfecting all public spaces, from shopping malls and schools to office buildings and warehouses. As a result of the increased demand, the staff on the front lines, such as janitors and cleaning crews, face increased risks.
The Priorities Are Not The Janitors
Most janitors are armed with nothing more than gloves and a short-sleeved uniform, which raises concerns about their health for the lack of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). It does not matter if the sanitization is effective or not, regardless, it is not being done correctly, since they are also placing the people who are doing or attempting to do the disinfecting at danger.
There should be no room for error, and cleaning crews have every right to be covered in order to clean all properly — from using the necessary chemicals to donning suitable protective gear. As much as the priorities lie on the tenant, it is important to provide the janitors the same privilege as well.
Janitorial and cleaning personnel are thought to be on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many teams are also in charge of properly washing and sanitizing surfaces and areas contaminated with the coronavirus. Furthermore, these staff treat potentially hazardous materials and collect garbage and other potentially toxic waste. Despite the alarming COVID-19 risks janitorial staff are exposed to on a daily basis, they take pride in their job as they are a part of something bigger. Them, along with other essential workers, report for duty as per usual, highly aware of the dangers.
Janitors are not appreciated well enough among the public, and it is ironic to dismiss them as working as a low-class, dirty job when they contribute a lot in keeping our surroundings clean and free from any germs, including the COVID-19 virus. It is clear that from this point on, janitors will be judged less on how well they pick up and clear out the dirt that you can see and more by how well they kill the germs that you can not.