The end of school year and summer break often mean moving teachers from one classroom into another, deep cleaning of the whole building, and the usual slew of summer maintenance, landscaping and renovation and construction.
Safety and Health Tips:
- Support teachers’ move by offering step stools, carts, and assistance with heavier items. A 2-person lift may be necessary for items over 50 pounds. Use a cart or dolly to transport items instead of carrying them. Do not carry heavy or awkward loads up and down stairs.
- Inspect electric cords for damage and remove any daisy chains. They can be both fire, and trip and fall hazards.
- Clear out and take home unnecessary items such as excessive decorations, soft pillows, chairs or couches, area rugs, scented sprays and essential oil evaporators, as well as their own cleaners, disinfectants and “air freshener” sprays – see guidance from the WA State Department of Health (DOH): DOHSchoolIAQ
- Starting this August only District-approved or provided items should be in classrooms. This is especially important now, because it allows custodial staff to focus on high priorities such as proper deep cleaning. The OSPI guidance for welcoming classrooms does not mean collections of unnecessary items crowding classrooms and degrading indoor air quality (IAQ). Dust and scents are well known asthma triggers. See the DOH’s list of supplies guidance: DOHSchoolSuppliesList
- For school disinfections Dos and Don’ts please see the latest EPA one pager: EPACleaning&Disinfection
- Keep the ventilation “on” while cleaning and refinishing work is performed in the buildings.
- Check and maximize exhaust ventilation in two key areas: health rooms and restrooms. When restrooms smell staff tends to bring in and use scented “air freshener” sprays that are asthma triggers.
- Ensure that custodians are trained in the safety of the non-regular summer work, for instance refinishing floors, dusting areas that are high above the ground, and periodic maintenance tasks.
- Complete construction and remodeling work while students and teachers are on summer break.
- During wildfire season look for the WA State DOH’s wildfire info page updates: DOHSmokeFromFires
- For COVID protection and return to school guidance, refer to the Governor-approved collaborative document released by the WA DOH: DOHK-12CovidRequirements2021-2022
- To prevent heat related illness, cover skin or apply an SPF of 15 or more. Give yourself time to acclimate to extreme temperatures and stay hydrated. Symptoms of heart induced illness include nausea, dizziness, feeling faint, and muscle cramps among other symptoms.
- When performing landscaping work, follow all heat illness prevention methods. Utilize hearing protection devices when operating loud machinery. Beware of pests, specifically bee and wasp colonies when working outside.
- Perform Job Hazard Analyses (JHA): A JHA is used to identify the potential safety and health hazards that the employee may encounter while performing their job. The analysis should include mitigation strategies for each hazard. The JHA should be in written form and available to the employee for reference. Training may also be a prerequisite to performing a job task.