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Very often, the cleaning staff does not pay much attention on ergonomics, a simple technique of lifting, shifting, pulling or pushing. In these activities, it is important to have correct posture to avoid putting stress on back or joints. Due to wrong postures while cleaning, the janitors often face work related injuries like back pain, muscle stiffness, cramps in legs and arms, etc.; thus, affecting the productivity, say Sudhir Mani, Senior Manager- Operations, and Nilesh Padheye, Trainer, Forbes Facility Services. If janitors are trained to work in right posture using correct tools, they will surely avoid these and quality of work will improve.

Housekeeping activities involve physical and m echanical cleaning. Though we have different equipment and tools for cleaning, the housekeepers need to know to decrease physical stress and its impact on health, yet get best possible cleaning results. In facility management, vertical housekeeping services play a fundamental role, in which end users of machines and chemicals are the janitors. They use mops, brushes, scrubbers, single disk machines, jet spray cleaners, hand held scrubbers, buffing machines and vacuum cleaners.

It is the responsibility of every employer that janitors and supervisors are trained on ergonomics so that they can avoid mistakes during work. At Forbes Facility we have OTSC – (on the spot check) which is surprise check to ensure proper standard operating procedures are followed with safety measures. Training and Audit play a very important function here.

Every janitor approximately cleans 10,000sqft manually. During this, many stressful activities are equally carried out by them, so using good quality mop is necessary. Brand Unger has adjustable mop stick and handle with good firm hand grip to hold, which helps janitor perform faster and better without hurting his back or shoulder and he/she can keep back straight.

Some important points to avoid occupational injuries
• Avoid awkward postures while cleaning (e.g. twisting and bending)
• While cleaning with machine, hold the handle of the machine at waist level if possible, rather than bending over them
• Use Personal Protective Equipment to avoid injury
• Check wheels of the Wringer Trolley and machines for smooth shifting & use
• Alternate task or rotate employees through stressful tasks

Along with the above, use of equipment like trolleys is recommended to avoid lifting things
• Possibly use trolley/ cart for shifting
• Keeping handles of trolley/ cart to be pushed at waist to chest height
• Use handles to move trolley/ carts rather than the sides
• Pushing rather than pulling wherever possible
• Keep Safety First in mind at all times

Also, we must avoid the following in order keeping bone joints safe
• Twisting while lifting
• Bending over to lift
• Lateral or side bending
• Back hyperextension or flexion
• Forces on the spine while lifting / shifting heavy objects

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