Cleaner Magazine

Cleaner Magazine is a resource for sewer and drain cleaning specialists who clean, inspect, and/or rehabilitate drains and pipes. This publication provides in-depth information on rodding and jetting equipment, service vans, combination sewer cleaners, hydroexcavators, inspection cameras, trenchless repair technologies, waterblasting systems, and productivity-boosting tools for the field and office.

Browse our published articles here:

Beware of These Dangers in Cold, Confined Spaces January 2024

Dangers to watch out for and how to stay safe when cleaning confined spaces in freezing conditions. READ MORE


Review Your Confined-Space Emergency Rescue Plan October 2022

Even the most experienced technicians need continual training in confined-space entry procedures. READ MORE


Stay Connected During Confined-Space Entry December 2018

New technology provides clear, dependable communication for confined-space work. READ MORE


Cleaner Magazine covers the following topics: Sewer and Drain Cleaning, Plumbing, Mainline and Drainline TV Inspection, Municipal & Industrial Sewer Services, Pipeline Rehabilitation and Relining, Location and Leak Detection

PK Safety contributes articles to Cleaner Magazine to help cleaning professionals identify and avoid potential hazards in the industry’s various environments. We provide the best personal protective equipment (PPE) for all types of jobs to keep these workers safe. Our editorials highlight essential safety products used in the industry today. 

Explore these Cleaner Magazine articles to learn about what’s happening in your field.

What are the biggest hazards facing professional cleaners?

Drain cleaning often means going where no one else wants to go. Professionals may be asked to deal with and dispose of all types of waste, some of which can be hazardous.  

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the private cleaning industry, there were 21,100 nonfatal injury and illness cases involving days away from work in 2020, with an incidence rate of 191.6 per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers. These hazards reduce productivity and prevent workers from earning a living.  

Here are some of the most common cleaning hazards facing workers today: 

Airborne Contaminants

Airborne hazards that reduce air quality, making it difficult to breathe. Dust is commonly found in areas that haven’t been touched in over a week. Cutting raw materials increases the spread of silica dust. These finite particles can enter the respiratory tract, spreading disease. Asbestos is another toxic building material that’s just starting to be regulated. 

Excess moisture can lead to mold. Hazardous gases like methane, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide can also linger in confined spaces. Many cleaning supplies contain toxic ingredients as well. Inhaling these pollutants can lead to chronic illness and even death. The warning signs include coughing, dry, itchy throat, eye irritation, tightness in the chest, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and lightheadedness. 

Workers can test the air quality in the space using a personal gas detector before starting their shifts. If gas is in the air, the crew can wear respirators with a built-in oxygen supply to safely occupy the room. Workers should open the windows if possible to increase the airflow. They can also use ventilation equipment to blow fresh air into the workspace. If the person discovers mold, dust, or asbestos, uses hazardous cleaning products, or believes the building may contain lead, they should wear a face mask until the hazard is remediated. 

Slips, Trips, and Falls 

Mopping, spills, leaks, drain cleaning, and condensation increase the risk of slips and falls. Workers should watch out for slick surfaces and put up floor signs to guard off the wet spots. They can also wear slip-resistant boots to gain traction in slippery areas. 

If the worker is more than ten feet off the ground, they must use fall protection equipment, including a hard hat, a safety harness tethered to a secure anchor point, and a retrieval system for safely bringing them to the ground. The team should be trained to lower the person to safety within 15 minutes to prevent injuries caused by poor circulation. 

Chemical Exposure 

Workers should wear chemical-resistant gloves and goggles when cleaning potentially hazardous waste or disposing of asbestos, mold, and other environmental toxins. If the cleanup process is extensive, the team can wear full-body hazmat suits as well as other hazmat supplies to increase coverage. 

Bacterial Infections

Some interiors can contain bodily fluids that can spread disease. The worker will need to wear biohazard gloves and goggles to safely dispose of the contaminated items. If the fluid could splash, they should wear a full-body hazmat suit for additional protection. The staff should cover any open wounds in biohazard gear before going near these hazards. 

Poor Ergonomics  

Workers often squat, kneel, and crawl to reach the spaces that need to be cleaned. They may also need to lift heavy items. Repeated movements like these and standing for long periods of time can be hard on the body, leading to a lifetime of chronic pain. Workers can use the latest ergonomic gear to avoid uncomfortable positions, including knee pads, ground blankets and mats for standing on hard surfaces, body mats for lying down while cleaning, and a ladder pad to stop the channels from biting the shoulder. The staff should also use proper lifting techniques to avoid hurting their backs.  

What PPE is used by professional drain cleaning workers? 

Drain cleaning specialists can use a wide range of PPE to stay safe on the job. The required gear depends on the nature of the task and the hazards involved.  

Many may use: 

  • Gloves (chemical-resistant or cut-resistant)
  • Slip-resistant boots
  • Confined space gas detection
  • Face mask or respirator
  • Goggles
  • Hazmat suit or coverall

Use these resources from Cleaner Magazine to stay informed when choosing PPE. Every employee should have the required safety supply to tackle the job at hand safely.