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Cleaning Workers: Health and Hygiene


In this category we can include janitors, housekeeping cleaners, maids or window washers. All of them are responsible for keeping houses, hospitals, stores or factories clean and in sanitary conditions. They have to clean floors and bathrooms, wash walls and glass and vacuum and shampoo rugs. Janitors also repair some minor problems such as leaks in faucets and exterminate rodents and other pests. In the case of maids and housekeeping cleaners, they also have to iron, cook, wash dishes and clothes, and make beds. If they work in hospitals, they also have to sterilize some equipment. Cleaners per se often work for a company performing just one cleaning activity.

These workers have to use different tools and special cleaning equipment and materials. Even though this equipment has facilitated their work, they must be very careful while manipulating electrical machinery or chemical solutions. For that reason it is mandatory to follow all security rules to prevent accidents. No formal education is required; you can learn everything you need on the job. Nevertheless, some training programs focus on how to repair minor plumbing or electrical problems, maintain the machinery, clean a building efficiently, use cleaning solutions safely and interact with people. It is very common that they begin as apprentices, and as long as they improve their skills, they are given more complicated responsibilities and promoted to other positions.

They usually have to work in the evening since at that hour there is nobody in the office. In the case of people who work in schools, hospitals or houses, they have to work during the day. They usually work 40 hours per week. Cleaning workers can work either inside buildings or outdoors; it depends on the tasks that they perform. According to estimations of the United States Department of Labor, job opportunities in this field are expected to grow through 2014, from about 9% to 17%. The earnings may vary depending on the occupation, for instance, janitors and cleaners may earn from about $15,000 to $25,000 per year. Cleaners that work in elementary and secondary schools reported the highest earnings. So, if you are interested on performing in this field, do not be doubtful and apply for a job.

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