Housekeeping and maintenance are jobs that entail numerous risks for workers. On top of having to perform repetitive movements on a daily basis, these workers also have to handle heavy objects and equipment. This strain on the body can eventually lead to musculoskeletal disorders or injuries.

For janitors and cleaning staff, ergonomic fit is key to productivity and injury prevention.

The basic principle of ergonomics is to adapt tasks so that they can be done safely, comfortably and efficiently.

Use the right tools

Using the right tools and equipment will increase productivity and reduce the risk of injuries. Take today’s cleaning and maintenance carts for example. They’re lighter and more compact than in the past; they’re also equipped with smoother rolling wheels and more ergonomic handles. Small details like these can have a big impact on maintenance staff who are at high risk of the repetitive strain injuries that can lead to short or long-term disability.

Maintenance staff (and their employers) should adopt proper working methods such as maintaining proper posture, minimizing the weight of objects/equipment being lifted and reducing overall physical effort. All these steps will help to increase efficiency.

Expert tips:

  • To decrease repetitive movements:
  • Alternate regularly between both hands.
  • Soak heavily soiled accessories.
  • Allow cleaning products to act.

To spare your back:

  • Use your legs when lifting a load.
  • Use telescopic handles to extend your reach.

To make physically demanding tasks easier on the body:

  • Use a light microfiber mop instead of a traditional cotton mop.
  • Vary tasks to use different muscles. Fatigue, irritation and injury can occur if muscles and tendons are not given sufficient time to rest.
  • Stretch regularly. Don’t wait until you feel muscle discomfort or tension.

Housekeeping and maintenance work are physically demanding jobs that need to be done at a brisk pace. They also entail repetitive tasks and uncomfortable positions requiring strength and endurance. Never underestimate the importance of using quality equipment; it will increase employee productivity and reduce the risk of injury.