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    by Vickie Holland | Oct 25, 2019

    My mother always told me I was not hurt unless I was bleeding. Thank goodness she wasn’t a supervisor in today’s workplace! Many work related injuries are internal and occur after months or years of exposure to lifting, bending, reaching, twisting, turning and generally repeating the same tasks over and over. These conditions can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, muscle strains, lower back pain and more.

    According to the US Department of Labor, these types of injuries, known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time. 


    • Excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching or stretching
    • Repetitive motion
    • Working in awkward positions
    • Sitting or standing for prolonged period of time
    • Vibrations from equipment (vacuums/buffers)

    The good news is many work related injuries can be prevented by reducing workers’ risks.   Daily communication between supervisors and their teams will pinpoint any problem areas. For example, simply adding an employee rotation to a repetitive task can help reduce injuries. Companies can also invest in ergonomic products to improve efficiencies while avoiding muscle strains and other injuries.


    1. Microfiber Flat MopsIf you are still using string wet mops we urge you to give flat mopping a try. String mops get HEAVY. Ask any custodian who’s had to rinse one out after a long shift! Microfiber mops are thinner and lighter than string mops. Their lightweight design is much easier on the lower back when mopping over several hours.
    2. Ergonomic Handles Do you use a handle for tasks that require pushing, pulling, reaching and stretching? If you answered yes, you need an ergonomic handle.These handles are designed with bends to minimize the force and leverage required for smooth mopping. Some have unique handle grips that swivel avoiding wrist strain.Many handles can be adjusted in length based on the task, reducing the user’s effort. Don’t forget: the longer the handle, the heavier it will feel!
    3. Material Handling Employing dollies, flatbeds, utility and janitor carts for easier transporting will help with awkward loads and improve efficiencies. Dollies are not just for brutes. Dollies are also available for slim jim containers with an ergonomic foot pedal release. New Utility Carts have ergonomic adjustable handles for maximum comfort.Janitor carts are lightweight and have proper space for tools and equipment to glide along floors and carpets. Not sure what should be on your janitor cart? Check out our recent blog “7 Steps for Creating the Perfect Mobile Workstation”.
    4. Vented Brutes & Slim Jims Recently Rubbermaid Commercial Products improved their refuse line by adding venting channels to their brute and slim jim containers. These venting channels make removing liners from the container up to 80% easier, improving productivity and reducing the risk of worker injury.Still not convinced? Check out this video.
    5. Ergonomic Cleaning Equipment Backpack vacuum users have a more neutral position compared to an upright vacuum user. The custodian’s legs and large back muscles are doing most of the work.The arms of an upright vacuum custodian are more likely to be easily fatigued. Walk-Behind Floor Scrubbers are easy to operate. Many units, like the Nobles SS300, have an ergonomic design using a foot activated squeegee to minimize bending and a wider handle for improved machine operation.For more ergonomic equipment ideas please reach out to your Sales Leader or visit our Order PRO (online catalog).

    My mother also demanded my sister and I sit up straight. Her good advice also applies to today’s office worker. The National Safety Council offers great tips for office worker ergonomics. In addition, regular exercise, stretching and strength training to maintain a strong core all are beneficial in preventing injury.

    Do you need help putting together an Ergonomic Safety Program? Do you have additional questions? Don’t forget training! Ongoing safety training engages employees with positive ergonomic practices.

    Please contact your Sales Leader today!