Ergonomics – BLOG

Proper Use of Equipment, Ergonomics, Savvy Cleaner

In this picture, we’re looking at a vacuum cord. We’ve all been there – It’s so tempting to yank the cord out from the wall when you’re across the room. Your reasons are great, you don’t want to step on that carpet with perfect vacuum lines.

So, plug the vacuum in a plug close to the exit of the room so you can vacuum your way out of the room and then unplug the cord with your hand at the plug. This will prevent shorts in the vacuum cord and your plug tines from getting bent and broken.

One of the biggest vacuum repairs for house cleaners is replacing the cord and you can prevent it.

Choose Your Equipment Wisely, Ergonomics, Savvy Cleaner

When it comes to equipment – you want to work smart, not hard. Consider using a lightweight microfiber mop rather than one that requires a lot of wringing. Wringing out a mop can cause stress to your arms, elbows and back. And wringing mops year in and year out will one day take a toll on your body.

Use the least amount of water to get the job done properly.

When you lift and pour out a big mop bucket of dirty water, that can cause strain on your back, neck, and shoulders.

Telescoping Wands, Ergonomics, Savvy Cleaner

  • Use a lightweight telescopic pole to extend your reach. This is great for Swiffer dusters, ceiling fans, and cobwebs in the top corners of rooms. It’s also great for mops and window cleaning.
  • Remember that not everybody who will be working for you is the same height.
  • Provide a selection of equipment for short and tall workers. Provide mop heads suited for workers of different strength.

Proper Training to use Equipment, Ergonomics, Savvy Cleaner

Proper Equipment Training Prevents Strain from Overreaching, Bending, and Stooping. 

It also prevents slumping, standing on tippy toes, and in some cases, standing on ladders. Work smart not hard by using equipment the proper way.

Every job will have its own equipment or tool. Your job is to train employees how to use the equipment needed for that job.

Monitor the work of your employees and provide refresher training periodically.

House cleaners often drift from one cleaning company to another. And since they’ve cleaned before, it’s easy to assume they know how to use the equipment. But you are still responsible for any on the job injuries they have. You need to retrain every new hire to match your workplace standards and the equipment you are using.

Report Broken Equipment, Ergonomics, Savvy Cleaner

Create a program for reporting faulty equipment as soon as it malfunctions.

One of the house cleaners in our network had a clogged vacuum, but being lazy she didn’t bother to unclog it and didn’t report it. Turns out that within a few days the only suction came from the hose. And she was vacuuming the entire house with just the hose. What a waste of time that is.
Repair broken equipment when it first breaks, so it doesn’t cost you down the road in parts or productivity.

It’s also a good idea to train your employees to perform routine maintenance like replacing vacuum cleaner brushes or belts on their own. They can even carry a spare replacement part or two in their vehicle. That way they don’t have to cut out of work and drive all the way back to the office if the vacuum breaks.

Cleaners use equipment and supplies every day. Ask for their suggestions. Find out what pieces of equipment they use most and why. 

Quality Equipment, Ergonomics, Savvy Cleaner

Do Your Research

  • Choose high-quality equipment rather than cheap equipment that falls apart quickly. Read online reviews. Do your research.
  • Buy products that come with a warranty. The longer the warranty the better.
  • Buy products that can be serviced locally. You don’t want to have to ship your equipment somewhere to be fixed, especially if it means not being able to work during the down time.
  • Always keep spare parts on hand for equipment you use frequently. Like buffing pads, vacuum bands, spare bristles or hose attachments, empty vacuum bags – stuff like that.
  • Buy the appropriate cleaning solutions for the job.
  • Equipment in good working condition contributes to higher productivity and less fatigue.

Maintenance Schedule, Ergonomics, Savvy Cleaner

Equipment in Good Working Order Saves Effort, Time, and Money

Maintenance of equipment is an investment for greater productivity. One way to protect your investment is to make a maintenance schedule and stick to it.

The easiest way to do this is on a daily basis. Get in the routine habit of cleaning out your cleaning caddy every single day after work. Do an inventory check. Make sure you have all your items. Check that you didn’t leave anything behind at a client’s house.

If you carry a vacuum, make sure it is clean. Replace the bag or empty the canister. Clean the bristles. If you have to, take a pair of scissors and cut out the hair and strings from the bristles of the vacuum. Wipe down the exterior of the vacuum for dust. 

Wash your cleaning cloths and mop heads.

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Restock Your Supplies for Tomorrow’s Cleaning.

Commercial cleaning equipment like floor buffers and cleaning carts need daily maintenance. 

  • Inspect and maintain wheels and casters.
  • Rolling equipment is easier when wheels and casters are clean and well lubricated.
  • Establish a reporting procedure so that workers have a way to report broken or faulty equipment.
  • Tag out broken or malfunctioning equipment. Remove it from service. And repair as soon as possible to maintain productivity and prevent worker injury.
  • Arrange for alternate equipment when machinery breaks down.

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Do a Personal Maintenance Every Day as Well.

Man with hurt back, Ergonomics, Savvy Cleaner

You Are Your Best Piece of Equipment

Custodians, janitors, and housekeepers suffer injuries that involve bone, cartilage, muscle, joints and nerves.

The most common body parts affected are the following:

Back, Shoulders, Neck, Arms Wrist/hands/fingers, Knees, Ankles, and Elbows. In other words, if you do this job long enough and you don’t take care of yourself, you’re going to fall apart. This is no joke, ask any house cleaner who has been doing this for a while and they will tell you they wish they’d taken better care of themselves.

Start today and create a personal maintenance plan. If you fall apart – you’ll be out of work. 

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Repetitive Chores

Pay attention to repetitive chores done day in a day out without a break. These are things like arm movement from pushing a vacuum back and forth. Or big sweeping movements with your arms while scrubbing shower floors or wiping down glass doors and mirrors.

It could also be working in awkward postures, such as bending or twisting your back to clean the tub. Or overhead reaching while dusting.

  • Pay attention to jobs where you work in the same position for a long time with little or no movement. Especially if you are holding equipment that vibrates like the handle of a pressure washer, or a floor buffer. All these repetitive tasks day in and day out can take their toll on your body.
  • So just like you do an inventory of your supplies and equipment at the end of the day – take an inventory of your body.

How do you feel? Do you need a tune up?

Exercise, Ergonomics,Workplace Compliance, Savvy Cleaner

I’m personally a big fan of those mini trampolines that you find at Target and Walmart for $30 – $35

At the end of the day when you get home from work and you turn on the TV, jump on your mini trampoline for a few minutes.

You don’t have to jump high, or even take your feet off the mat, but the process of jumping up and down will do a few amazing things for your body.

  • It will strengthen your core – your abs, your glutes, and your quads.
  • It will realign your spine. Shake out all the kinks and reset everything from your head to your toes.
  • It will mysteriously burn calories and that helps with weight loss, and maintaining your perfect weight.
  • It gets your blood circulating and oxygen flowing throughout your body.

Hey, that’s me, on my mini trampoline. Like I say, I’m a huge fan of the mini tramp and have been using mine for twenty some years. In fact, I have three of them in different rooms of the house.

Want to know a good gift for your house cleaning employees? It’s a mini tramp.

Every day you can work those house cleaning kinks out – and reboot your system.

It goes without saying – but you – you the worker are the most valuable piece of equipment your company will ever have.

You need to make sure you take care of yourself. It’s an investment in your company.

Use Ergonomics, Ergonomics, Savvy Cleaner

The more supplies and tools you load in a caddy or cart, the greater the force needed to push it, particularly on the carpet. Materials unevenly distributed around the caddy or cart also contribute to instability. Running your cart over uneven surfaces, such as elevator gaps or over thresholds, can cause it to tip over.

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  • Find the best wheels or casters for the equipment you carry so it rolls easily.
  • Small wheels can get caught on holes and uneven floor surfaces.
  • Stock the cart or barrel only with materials you will need.
  • Set up a caddy and a caddy apron at exactly opposite sides of the barrel. That way the weight is more evenly distributed and the cart is less likely to tip over.
  • Place the most frequently used products/tools closer to you.
  • Pay attention to uneven surfaces. With a firm grip, push the barrel slowly to prevent it from tipping.

Ergonomics of Trash, Workplace Compliance, Savvy Cleaner

  • Don’t assume that trash cans weigh about the same each time. Injuries can occur when lifting an unexpectedly heavy trash bag or can.
  • Always wear gloves when emptying trash cans.
  • Check the weight of the trash can by tilting or tapping it.
  • Use proper lifting techniques. Bend your knees and keep your back straight as you pick up or lower trash cans.
  • Firmly grasp the lip around the rim of the can. Use two hands if the can is heavy.
  • Avoid bending your wrists.
  • Position the trash can on the barrel rim for emptying the contents and replacing the lining. This position allows for good body posture. Keep fingers away from falling objects.
  • Whenever possible, alternate hands to pick up and lower trash cans.
  • Be sure not to place your hand at the bottom of the liner bag since there might be sharp points.
  • Empty trash cans frequently to avoid accumulating heavy loads.
  • Dispose of glass in a separate container to avoid the risks of cuts.
  • Roll barrels and other equipment containing trash bags as close as possible to the dumpster.
  • If the bag is too heavy, get help.
  • With feet and body facing the dumpster, step closer and toss the bag forward into the dumpster.
  • Avoid twisting. Do not toss sideways.

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