Janitorial Security

what office security means for our janitors

When a building manager gives a key to a janitorial service, there is a lot of trust given with that key. This article is about what the service company needs to do to live up to that trust.

Over my 32 years of experience in the janitorial service business, I have seen what it takes to keep a building safe and secure after business hours during office cleaning. Having a Dishonesty Bond and liability insurance is a must, but they do not prevent the problems that good management and policy will prevent.

Hire Correctly

Janitors must be hired with care. Criminal backgrounds should be checked and references called. Regardless of past experience doing cleaning, the hire must be a responsible adult without any drug or alcohol problems, completely honest, and comfortable with all the cleaning duties, including restroom cleaning. They should be willing to be trained and willing to use building alarm systems and security protocol. I never use temporary workers for night janitors.

Once you have a good person on the job, the policies that the contract cleaning company has and enforces on their janitors are what will then keep the client’s office secure.

Security with Building Keys

  1. The keys are never to be labeled with the name or address of the building or company. Label with color, number or letter codes only. This way, if the keys are ever lost, they cannot be used by an unauthorized finder.
  2. Keys should be kept on metal rings and never loose.
  3. The key ring should be carried on a belt clip or sturdy pocket of the janitor, never in a purse and never set down off of the janitor’s body. Many doors are self-closing and self-locking. Setting the keys down invites the janitor locking himself away from his keys.
  4. Any damaged or lost key is to be reported immediately to the manager.
  5. When not on the job, the key ring should be kept in a safe, secure place.

Security with Alarm Systems

  1. The janitor must be familiar with each alarm system of each building he services. This includes sensor by-pass modes, trip reset, and emergency passwords.
  2. The alarm code must be memorized and never written on the key.
  3. The janitor must have the phone numbers of the alarm monitor and emergency phone number of the building manager in case of trouble with alarm or security after hours.
  4. If given the choice of janitor alarm codes, no 2 buildings serviced should ever have the same alarm code.

Janitor Policies in the Building

  1. Always lock exterior doors when inside working after business hours.
  2. Never unlock an exterior door to let anyone in. Authorized staff should have their own key. (Ex-employees have tried to use janitors to gain unauthorized entry.)
  3. Secure all doors and windows when leaving, set alarm and double check exit door to be sure it is locked. If door lock is broken or unable to be secured, call the building manager. Never leave the building unsecured.
  4. Leave a note for the office manager of anything they should be aware of with the building security or cleaning services.
  5. No minors, helpers or anyone not on the assigned crew are to accompany the janitor into the building.
  6. The building manager should know who the assigned janitors are in the building each visit. Janitors newly assigned a building should meet with the building manager to introduce themselves.


Janitors have security of the client’s building as their first duty and responsibility. The trust given the janitor by the building manager should be taken seriously and responsibly. Their duties of maintenance and cleaning are secondary.

Janitors have a pretty good reputation for being responsible custodians of a building. In my 32 years in the business, I have never had a theft from a client due to janitor error and have never filed an insurance claim for a client’s loss. I credit this success to my following the above management practices and policies.

San Fernando LA CEO of office janitorial services

Ralph C. Temps
Founder & CEO
Ability Maintenance Service, Inc.