Ask the Expert (Ergonomic Methods)
What Results Should You Expect When Cleaning Is Genuinely Ergonomic?
- By Jacalyn High
- October 1st, 2016
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.
Jacalyn High is director of Marketing for ProTeam Vacuums. She can be reached at 866/888-2168 or through proteam.emerson.com.