By Vickie Holland
Many work-related injuries are internal and occur after months or years of exposure to lifting, bending, reaching, twisting, turning and generally repeating the same tasks over and over. These conditions can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, muscle strains, lower back pains and more.
According to the US Department of Labor, these types of injuries, known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the most frequently reported causes of lost of restricted work time.
MOST COMMON AREAS CAUSING WORKER INJURY AND ILLNESS
- Excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching, or stretching
- Repetitive motion
- Working in awkward positions
- Sitting or standing for prolonged period
- Vibrations from equipment (vacuums/buffers)
The good news is many work-related injuries can be prevented by reducing workers’ risks. Daily communication between supervisors and their teams will pinpoint any problem areas. For example, simply adding an employee rotation to a repetitive task can help reduce injuries. Companies can also invest in ergonomic products to improve efficiencies while avoiding muscle strains and other injuries.
5 ERGONOMIC ITEMS FOR YOUR JANITORS’ CLOSET
- Microfiber Flat Mops – If you are still using string wet mops, we urge you to give flat mopping a try. String mops get heavy. Ask any custodian who’s had to rinse one out after a long shift. Microfiber mops are thinner and lighter than string mops. Their lightweight design is much easier on the lower back when moving over several hours.
- Ergonomic Handles – Do you use a handle for tasks that require pushing, pulling, reaching, and stretching? If you answered yes, you need an ergonomic handle. These handles are designed with bends to minimize the force and leverage required for smooth mopping. Some have unique handle grips that swivel avoiding wrist strain. Many handles can be adjusted in length based on the task, reducing the user’s effort. Don’t forget; the longer the handle, the heavier it will feel!
- Material Handling – Employing dollies, flatbeds, utility, and janitor carts for easier transporting will help with awkward loads and improve efficiencies. Dollies are not just for brutes. Dollies are also available for Slim Jim containers with an ergonomic foot pedal release. New Utility Carts have ergonomic adjustable handles for maximum comfort. Janitor cares are lightweight and have proper space for tools and equipment to glide along floors and carpets.
- Vented Brutes & Slim Jims –Rubbermaid Commercial Products improved their refuse line by adding venting channels to their Brute and Slim Jim Containers. These venting channels make removing liners from the container up to 80% easier, improving productivity and reducing the risk of worker injury.
- Ergonomic Cleaning Equipment – Backpack vacuum users have more neutral position compared to an upright vacuum user. The custodian’s legs and large back muscles are doing most of the work. The arms of an upright vacuum custodian are more likely to be easily fatigued. Walk-Behind Floor Scrubbers are easy to operate. Many units, like the Focus II Boost, have an ergonomic design using orbital scrubbing actions to produce high speed agitation. This allows for less water and chemicals to be used.
For more ergonomic equipment ideas please reach out to your Sales Consultant or visit www.imperialdade.com.