Ask the Expert (Ergonomic Methods)

What Results Should You Expect When Cleaning Is Genuinely Ergonomic?

The word ergonomic gets used abundantly in regard to cleaning, but that is because the primary resource in cleaning is manual labor. When you’re working with manual labor, good ergonomics have the potential to transform just about every aspect of the work with safer, more intuitive processes and tools. Put simply, for something to be ergonomic, it must be efficient and people-friendly. That can apply to every cleaning task from vacuuming the carpet to dusting the light fixtures.

That said, there is a difference between transformative ergonomics and superficial ergonomics. An example of superficial ergonomics would be to take a heavy and unwieldy tool and put a more comfortable handle grip on it. The hand might be more comfortable, but the task is still difficult to perform. Transformative ergonomics in cleaning could come from a drastic rethinking of how a task is done or from a slight tweak, but the improvements in your cleaning program should be undeniable if you are tracking key information.

When considering a switch to a new ergonomic approach, conduct your own in-house study to compare your existing method with the new ergonomic method. First, work with a cleaner on how to use new equipment or follow a new process properly. Then time how long it takes the cleaner to do the same task in the same space with both methods, and document the quality of the results. Afterwards, give cleaners a questionnaire about how intuitive the new method is and their physical comfort doing the task. After tracking these factors, the benefits of ergonomic methods should become apparent.

This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of School Planning & Management.

About the Author

Jacalyn High is director of Marketing for ProTeam Vacuums. She can be reached at 866/888-2168 or through proteam.emerson.com.

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