Janitors and building cleaners perform various types of custodial work to keep buildings clean, orderly and in good condition. A janitor may be responsible for maintenance of buildings and equipment and/or landscape maintenance, such as mowing grass or shoveling snow. Janitors use hand tools, such as brooms, mops and shovels, and small machinery, like vacuum cleaners, floor buffers and lawn mowers.
Janitorial work can be physically demanding and sometimes dirty and unpleasant. Typically, it includes regular exposure to powerful cleaning solvents and sanitizers. Janitors spend their days mostly on their feet, and the work requires lifting, carrying, bending and assuming uncomfortable physical positions to perform certain tasks. A janitor’s work can be strenuous on the back, arms and legs. The worker may suffer injuries or illness from exposure to machines, tools, chemicals and the contents of refuse.
A janitor who has been injured on the job in South Carolina may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, which pay for medical care and replace a portion of lost wages while an employer is injured and unable to work. However, it is not unusual for an employer to try to deny or shortchange injured employees who have valid workers’ comp claims.
Since 1968, the workers’ compensation attorneys of Joye Law Firm have helped injured workers in South Carolina obtain the workers’ comp benefits that S.C. law says they deserve. Our attorneys have helped janitors, custodians, building superintendents, housekeepers and other workers from across South Carolina recover financially after suffering serious injuries on the job.
If you or a loved one has been injured while on the job in South Carolina, contact Joye Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation about claiming workers’ compensation benefits. We have offices in Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Clinton, S.C., and can met with you by phone as well. Phone (888) 324-3100 to learn more now.
Injury Risks S.C. Janitors Face on the Job
Janitors keep office buildings, schools, hospitals, retail stores, hotels and other places clean, sanitary and in good condition. In larger organizations, janitor positions may be distinguished from housekeeper positions by additional responsibility for routine maintenance of buildings, equipment and grounds. At residential buildings, such as apartments and condominiums, a building superintendent may perform janitorial duties.
A janitor’s work duties may include gathering and emptying trash; sweeping, mopping and vacuuming floors; washing windows, walls, glass, countertops and other surfaces; mowing lawns, sweeping walkways and shoveling snow; making routine building and equipment repairs, including minor electrical or plumbing work; locking doors and securing buildings; ordering supplies; and related work as assigned.
Accidents and injuries commonly seen among janitors:
- Slip and fall accidents. The most frequent cause of workplace injuries is a worker slipping or tripping and falling. Janitors routinely deal with wet and slippery floors when mopping, cleaning up spills, or removing tracked-in rain and snow. A janitor may also fall from a ladder or another elevated work surface and be injured. Falls can cause head and traumatic brain injury (TBI), broken bones, back injuries and other serious harm.
- Overexertion. A janitor must reach for, grab, pull, push, lift, carry and place objects or materials as part of many job duties. Tasks may also require bending and assuming physically stressful positions. A single incident of overexertion or the cumulative damage of repeated reaching, lifting, or bending can injure muscles, ligaments, tendons and/or other soft tissue. Heavy lifting or other physical labor on a daily basis routinely causes back, knee and shoulder injuries.
- Mechanical / equipment accidents. Janitorial work with small machinery like vacuum cleaners, floor buffers, lawnmowers, string trimmers, or snow blowers can lead to accidents that cause significant cuts and lacerations, bruises and burns due to contact with moving, sharp or hot tools or machine parts. Using or repairing electrical equipment may expose a janitor to electrical current and the risk of electrical shock, during work around spills and other moisture.
- Hearing loss. Long-term exposure to loud machinery and equipment can cause a janitor to suffer hearing loss, especially if he or she is not provided proper hearing protection.
- Hazardous chemical exposure. Janitors use commercial-grade cleaners that contain toxic chemicals that can cause burn injuries due to skin or eye contact or inhalation. Long-term exposure to hazardous chemicals can cause asthma or other pulmonary disease.
- Infectious disease exposure. Janitors come into contact with a variety of waste products, potentially including human bodily fluids containing microorganisms that can cause disease, as well as discarded needles and sharps infected with bloodborne pathogens. A janitor who suffers a cut by working with tools or machinery can contract infection due to contact with other contaminants in refuse. During the COVID-19 pandemic, janitors were often responsible for detailed environmental cleaning and decontamination, which necessitated potential occupational exposure to the infection.
A janitor who is injured while on the job and becomes unable to work for seven days or longer may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if employed in South Carolina.
S.C. Workers’ Compensation Benefits Injured Janitors are Due
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program that pays benefits to most people employed in South Carolina who suffer a work-related injury or illness that causes them to be temporarily or permanently disabled. An injury or illness is considered work-related if an accident or exposure linked to the performance of assigned janitorial job duties caused or contributed to the injury or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.
A janitor who has suffered a work-related injury or illness in South Carolina deserves to receive every dollar of workers’ compensation benefits that S.C. law provides.
Typical workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Medical Expenses. Workers’ comp payments are available to pay for all medical treatment related to a workplace injury. This includes payment for vocational or occupational rehabilitation and other training needed to recover skills or develop capabilities to return to gainful employment if possible.
- Lost-Time Compensation. After an injured worker has missed seven days of work, they are entitled to temporary disability payments that are equal to about two-thirds of their average weekly wage. This payment is capped at a maximum established each year, which was $866.67 per week in 2020.
- Long-Term Disability. If a worker has been permanently disabled and will not resume gainful employment, long-term disability payments may last for up to 500 weeks. The S.C. workers’ compensation death benefit paid to family members of a deceased worker also last for up to 500 weeks.
South Carolina workers’ compensation law prohibits an injured worker from suing his or her employer for losses caused by a workplace injury or illness, regardless of the employer’s role. However, there is no such restriction on legal action involving others whose negligence caused or contributed to a worker’s injury or illness.
A third-party personal injury claim may be possible against a negligent contractor or vendor, who caused or contributed to a janitor’s workplace injury. The Joye Law Firm can investigate the circumstances of your injury and assess the potential for a third-party claim, through which we could potentially recover additional compensation for you.
Our Lawyers Help Injured Janitorial Employees in South Carolina
If you or a loved one of yours have been injured while working as a janitor in South Carolina, contact Joye Law Firm today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights and the workers’ comp benefits you deserve to receive. There is no cost to you for this meeting or for our legal services unless we recover compensation for you.
Hiring an experienced attorney to handle your workers’ compensation claim can significantly increase your chance of recovering benefits. Even if your employer seems to be cooperating with your workers’ comp claim, a review of your case by a Joye Law Firm workers’ comp attorney can be beneficial to you. Many workers have had no contact with the workers’ compensation system before they were injured on the job and suddenly find themselves dealing with a state bureaucracy from a hospital room or while recovering at home.
Don’t Go It Alone. The Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Joye Law Firm Can:
- Explain the benefits you are due
- Explain the requirements of the S.C. workers’ compensation program for obtaining and maintaining benefits
- Gather and submit all forms and documents required to file a claim for you to receive temporary or permanent disability benefits
- Refer you to a doctor for a second opinion if your claim requires additional documentation of your injuries
- Keep up with and document all of your medical expenses for reimbursement
- Calculate your lost wages to ensure your lost-time compensation is correct
- Appeal a denied claim or a benefit that is incorrect.
The attorneys at Joye Law Firm have more than 150+ years of combined experience fighting for the rights of injured workers, and we are proud of our track record of success. We represent injured janitors in Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Clinton and across South Carolina.
Contact us today to set up your free legal consultation about a workers’ comp claim at 877-941-1019 or online.