Ask the Expert (Healthy Cleaning)
What results are expected from "ergonomic" cleaning?
- By Jacalyn High
- October 1st, 2016
The word “ergonomic” gets used abundantly in regards 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 peoplefriendly,
and that can apply to every cleaning
task from vacuuming the carpet to dusting the
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 College Planning & Management.
Jacalyn High is director of Marketing for ProTeam Vacuums. She can be reached at 866/888-2168 or through proteam.emerson.com.