This article could be called “Confessions of a Cleaner”, for I have braved some scary situations in my job as a card-carrying cleaner on the streets of Sydney. Well, not actually on the streets, more in the offices, factories and retail outlets spread over this vast metropolis. Some of you might, already, be questioning my bone fides as a cleaner because of my eloquence. Thinking that most cleaners are new migrants, more fluent in Turkish or Chinese. Well, smarty pants there are plenty of students forced to make a buck polishing hospital floors and spraying Windex in a non-stop stream across the reflective surfaces of their lives. So, what are the health and injury risks of being a cleaner?
Health and Injury Risks of Being a Cleaner
My first big slip up was at Canterbury Hospital, when I went arse over tit whilst doing the hallways in the women’s ward. Luckily most of the ladies were asleep and I only bruised my coccyx, but my pride was seriously dented. The thing about cleaning is that you are usually doing it while most people are asleep and it can be hard to maintain focus through those wee hours. At least if you have a fall whilst cleaning a hospital you do not have far to go to seek help. My worst injury was, actually, incurred when I was cleaning Sydney’s top night spot, at the time, Jamison Street. Here I was engulfed by a giant rubber floormat from behind the bar, which was soaked in so much old beer and spilt alcohol that I nearly died of toxic poisoning. My partner, commented on my body odour for weeks after that cleaning job. My skin was never the same after that intimate roll with that beer mat.
Serious injuries worthy of hiring a compensation lawyer in this day and age, but back then we were encouraged to grin and bear it. It reminds me of the time that I was cleaning a brothel in Surry Hills and found an insertable sex aid that had obviously been left out after a night’s action. I let that sucker have it with the Spray’N’Wipe until it was running with foam. Cleaners are at risk from picking up infections and diseases from stuff like this every day of the week. Vigilance is the only weapon we have in our arsenal, to keep us safe from nasties and accidents. I thank my genes for staying healthy in the face of gunk and goop everywhere. These days, I try to stay on my feet more often than not and avoid the dodgy night time jobs. They say that cleanliness is next to Godliness, well, let me tell you my Bishop Pell story….