Housekeeping is at the heart of any public service business establishment but it is not until some mishap takes place, that their worth is recognized. Housekeepers add value to the business while also contributing to a major amount of profit of the institution. “However, it is often seen that the housekeepers are not always trained properly for the work which leads to deterioration of their health and most commonly, problems with their spinal cord,” says Gaurav Pathak, Managing Director, CLR Services.
Every day housekeepers have to take care of a huge workload and the entire task is carried out on several levels. It is, therefore, the best time to train and educate the irreplaceable class of employees so that they can keep serving happily and healthily.
Setting up the cleaning task
Generally, facility managers are in charge of deciding the cleaning program to ensure that the floor is cleaned properly and regularly. But worker safety is also of utmost importance and therefore when it comes to setting up an organized plan of cleaning the floor using mops and other machines, a lot of factors must be taken into account.
These include a pattern of traffic, peak hours and the weather conditions within and without the establishment. It is a bad idea to clean the floor in the presence of heavy traffic as it surges the chances of accidents. When cleaning, one should factor in the time for drying to rule out slips and falls.
Maintaining security and safety principles:
First things first. Before any housekeeping staff member lays hands on the mops and machines, he or she should shield the body from different harmful substances by wearing gloves which are at par with the industry standards. If required, eyes and oral region should also be protected by wearing appropriate specs and masks.
The staff must always keep the authority updated on everything such as when a new product is used or when anything unusual is found.
This will help in times of crisis as the authority in charge will be able to evaluate the situation and take proper steps in case anything undesired happens to the worker.
This is perhaps the most important aspect of a housekeeper’s job. But unfortunately, injury builds up over time and takes a toll on one’s health after a few years. And most housekeepers suffer from a common problem of back pain, the reason being not maintaining a correct posture which exerts pressure on the backbone. Ergonomic mopping is the key to steer clear of such situations. It is important that the mop matches the physical features of the housekeeper and doesn’t cause any interference in the work.
Choosing the right mop
There are two aspects mopping in a business establishment: cleaning up occasional spills and mopping for regular maintenance that contributes to fatigue, back pain, and even injury since it involves cleaning up of a large area once or twice daily. When this has to be executed with mop handle with a bucket and wringer or the conventional looped-end wet mop, there is no doubt that it will bring about injury and pain. It is therefore not advised to use them since they are quite heavy and cause difficulty when swung. No matter how ergonomic the mop is or how hard you try to be careful, it will cause pain in the elbows and lower back.
That is why the flat microfiber mops are gaining in popularity. It has been observed that housekeepers are hardly injured while sweeping. A microfibre flat mop is lightweight and has a damp pad attached to the base which together weighs about 800 to 1000gm at the most.
Mopping it right
The handle of the mop should be adjusted in such a way that the end comes right below the chin. The lower grip should be held with one hand and the top of the handle with the other. This will turn the mop handle to an almost vertical position and ensure that one is standing straight and does not have to lean. The mop has to be worked on the floor from side to side in such a way that it looks like the digit ‘8’. One must refrain from mopping a space of more than four feet at a given pass since it will overexert the arms and cause pain. Make sure that microfiber pads are changed from time to time.
When it comes to clean up accidental spills, it is advised to choose those conventional looped end style mops. This is because they have a greater capacity of absorbing soil and liquid compared to microfiber flat mops. It indicates that you will not have to run time and again in changing the pads and clean up the area within a short span of time.
No matter whether you are using mops or heavy machinery, it is a good practice to keep the back straight in order to prevent injury. Holding the mop close to your body will prevent you from extending away from your arms, which in turn could arch the backbone. Always switch the grip and alternate the hands in high and low position on the mop handle.
Many housekeeping staff have a habit of skimping on training, particularly if they are quite experienced. A responsible housekeeper should be aware of all the procedures involved in housekeeping along with the cleaning protocols for hazardous areas.