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Janitors, Custodians, and Housekeepers Module 4: Musculoskeletal Hazards


Janitors, Custodians, and Housekeepers Module 4: Musculoskeletal Hazards This module: Will demonstrate that janitors, custodians, and housekeepers may complete many ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Janitors, Custodians, and Housekeepers Module 4: Musculoskeletal Hazards

Janitors, Custodians, and Housekeepers Module
4 Musculoskeletal Hazards
This module
  • Will demonstrate that janitors, custodians, and
    housekeepers may complete many different tasks.
  • Is one in a series of modules that will discuss
    hazards janitors, custodians, and housekeepers
    may encounter.
  • Will cover musculoskeletal hazards and provide
    tips for prevention
  • Module 1 will cover chemical hazards from
    cleaning products
  • Module 2 will cover physical hazards
  • Module 3 will cover exposure to biological
  • Module 5 will cover removing graffiti
  • A stand alone module entitled Working Alone in
    Safety may also be of interest
  • Provide sources of additional information.

Janitors may do a variety of tasks
  • Vacuuming
  • Sweeping and Mopping
  • Waxing floors
  • Cleaning bathrooms
  • Dusting furniture
  • Moving furniture
  • Emptying trash
  • Restocking supplies
  • Wiping counters
  • Scrubbing
  • Unstopping drains/ repairing faucets
  • Mowing lawns
  • Removing stains
  • Heating/Air conditioning
  • Ventilation
  • Insect control
  • Maintaining and cleaning doors and windows
  • Delivery/Pick up of items
  • Extra security
  • Weather emergencies
  • Lab spills
  • Helping with disabled cars
  • Minor repairs
  • Painting and carpentry

Janitors work in a variety of buildings
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Universities
  • Laboratories
  • Factories
  • Offices
  • Restaurants
  • Stores
  • Nursing Homes
  • Clinics

Musculoskeletal and repetitive motion injuries
can occur from
  • Overexertion (Heavy or awkward lifting)
  • Awkward postures (bent back, kneeling)
  • Repetitive movements (ex. Scrubbing)

Preventing musculoskeletal injuries
  • The following slides will provide ideas for
    preventing injuries when doing the following
  • Moving and storing items
  • Filling and emptying liquids from containers
  • Using hand tools
  • Handling laundry, trash, and other bags
  • Cleaning small items in large sinks
  • Loading or unloading laundry
  • Wet cleaning and mopping
  • Vacuuming or buffing
  • General cleaning

Use carts to store and transfer supplies
  • When moving cleaning supplies, equipment, and
    maintenance tools use carts.
  • Carts make it easier and quicker to access and
    store items.

Use carts to store and transfer supplies
  • Things to remember with carts
  • Keep the most frequently used and heavy items
    within easy reach between hip and shoulder
  • Cart wheels should be made of a material that is
    compatible with the floor surface in your
  • Cart handles that are vertical, with some
    horizontal adjustability will allow all employees
    to push at elbow height and shoulder width.

Use carts to store and transfer supplies
  • Carts should have wheel locks.
  • Handles that can swing out of the way may be
    useful for saving space or reducing reach.
  • Heavy carts should have brakes.
  • Balance loads and keep loads under cart weight
  • Ensure stack height does not block vision.

When using carts and other equipment
  • Push equipment, rather than pull, when possible.
  • Keep arms close to the body and push with whole
    body and not just arms.
  • Remove unnecessary objects to minimize weight.
  • Avoid obstacles that could cause abrupt stops.
  • Take defective equipment out of service.
  • Perform routine maintenance on all equipment.

Use of spring loaded carts
  • Spring-loaded carts automatically bring linen
    within easy reach.
  • Remember
  • These carts speed process for handling linen
  • They also reduce wear on linen from excessive
  • Select a spring tension that is appropriate for
    the weight of the load
  • Carts should have wheel locks and
    height-appropriate handles that can swing out of
    the way
  • Heavy carts should have brakes

Spring loaded cart
Use buckets with floor drain arrangements
To fill and empty liquids from large containers
  • Use buckets with floor drain arrangements
  • Reduces risk of spills and slips
  • speeds process
  • reduces waste
  • Ensure that casters don't get stuck in floor
  • Use hose to fill bucket
  • Use buckets with casters to move mop bucket
  • Ensure casters are maintained and roll easily.

Select and use properly designed hand tools
  • Properly designed hand tools
  • Speeds process
  • Enhances tool safety
  • Reduces waste
  • Handles should fit the grip size of the user
  • Use bent-handled tools to avoid bending wrists
  • Use appropriate tool weight

Select and use properly designed hand tools
  • Use trigger bars rather than single finger
  • Select tools that have minimal vibration or
    vibration damping devices
  • Have regular maintenance program for tools to
    keep blades sharp and edges and handles intact
  • Always wear the appropriate personal protective

Trigger bar
Equipment and practices for handling laundry,
trash and other bags
  • Use handling bags that have side openings
  • They allow for easy disposal without reaching
    into and pulling bags up and out.
  • Bags should be able to slide off the cart without
  • Limiting the size and weight of bags
  • Provide handles to further decrease lifting
  • Use garbage cans that have a frame
  • instead of a solid can to prevent plastic
    bags from sticking to the inside of the can.
  • An alternative is to use products on the inside
    of the garbage can that prevent the bag from

Equipment and practices for handling laundry,
trash and other bags
  • Limit the size of the container to limit the
    weight of the load employee must lift and dump.
  • Place receptacles in unobstructed and easy to
    reach places.
  • Chutes and dumpsters
  • Position to minimize lifting. Installing chutes
    and dumpsters at or below grade level It is best
    to lower the to dumpster or chute rather than
    lift materials to higher levels
  • Provide automatic opening or hardware to keep
    doors open. This minimizes twisting and awkward

Cleaning small objects in a deep sink
  • Place an object such as a plastic basin in the
    bottom of the sink to raise the work surface
  • OR
  • Remove objects to be washed into a smaller
    container on the counter for scrubbing or soaking
    and then replace back in the sink for final rinse
  • Store inserts and containers in a convenient
    location to encourage consistent use

Loading and unloading laundry
  • Front-loading washers and dryers
  • Speeds process for retrieving and placing items
  • Minimizes wear-and-tear on linen
  • Washers with tumbling cycles separate clothes,
    making removal easier.
  • For deep tubs, a rake with long or extendable
    handle can be used to pull linen closer to the
    door opening.
  • Raise machines so that opening is between hip and
    elbow height of employees.

Loading and unloading laundry
  • If using top loading washers, work practices that
    reduce risk include
  • Handling small loads of laundry
  • Handling only a few items at a time
  • Bracing your body against the front of the
    machine when lifting
  • If items are knotted in the machine, brace with
    one hand while using the other to gently pull the
    items free.
  • Ensure that items go into a cart rather than
    picking up baskets of soiled linen or wet

Cleaning work methods and tools
When using water or liquid cleaning products
  • Avoid lifting heavy buckets or lifting large,
    full bucket from sinks.
  • Use a hose or similar device to fill buckets with
  • Use wheels on buckets that roll easily and have
    functional brakes.
  • Ensure that casters are maintained.
  • Use rubber-soled shoes in wet areas to prevent

  • Frequently change mopping styles when mopping
  • push/pull
  • figure 8,
  • rocking side to side
  • This alternates stress on muscles

Vacuuming and buffing floors
Both vacuum cleaners and buffers should
have Lightweight construction Adjustable handle
heights Triggers (buffer) long enough to
accommodate at least the index and middle
fingers Easy to reach controls Technique is
important for both devices including Use of
appropriate grips Avoiding tight grips and for
vacuuming, by alternating grip.
Vacuuming and buffing floors
  • The use of telescoping and extension handles,
    hoses and tools can reduce reaching for low
    areas, high areas and far away areas
  • Maintain and service the equipment and change
    vacuum bags when ½
  • to 3/4 full
  • Vacuums and other powered devices are preferred
    over manual equipment for moderate-to-long
    duration use
  • Heavy canisters or other large, heavy equipment
    should have brakes

For all cleaning
  • Use spray bottles and equipment that have trigger
    bars rather than single finger triggers
  • Avoid using the ring and little fingers
  • Alternate leading hand
  • Avoid tight static grip and
  • Use padded non-slip handles

For all cleaning
  • Use chemical cleaners and abrasive sponges to
    minimize scrubbing force.

(Ventilation of rooms, goggles, and gloves may be
necessary when chemicals are used.)
  • Use kneepads when kneeling
  • Avoid bending and twisting
  • Use extension handles, step stools, or ladders
    for overhead needs

For all cleaning
  • If possible, clean objects at waist level rather
    than bending over them.
  • Examples
  • Push wheelchairs up a ramped platform to perform
    cleaning work
  • Raise beds to waist level before cleaning
  • When sweeping or dusting use flat head dusters
    and push with the leading edge sweep all areas
    into one pile and pick up with a vacuum.

Resources used for this overview
  • OSHA Hospital eTool
  • http//www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/hospital/housekeep
  • International Labor Organization - International
    Hazard Datasheets on Occupation
  • http//www.ilo.org/public/english/protection/safew

Additional Resources
  • WISHA Core Safety Rules (WAC 296-800)
  • http//www.lni.wa.gov/wisha/rules/corerules/defaul
  • (Basic safety and health rules needed by most
    employers in Washington State)
  • Workplace Safety and Health
  • http//www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/default.asp
  • WISHA Ergonomics Ideas Bank
  • http//www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/KeepSafe/ReduceHazard
  • Cleaning Fact Sheets
  • http//www.wrppn.org/Janitorial/factsheets.cfm

WISHA Consultation Services
  • Safety Health program review and worksite
  • By employer invitation only
  • Free
  • Confidential
  • No citations or penalties
  • Letter explains findings
  • Follow-up all serious hazards
  • For additional assistance, you can call one of
    our consultants. Click below for local LI office
  • http//www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Basics/Assistance/Con

  • Thank you for taking the time to learn about
    safety and health and how to prevent injuries and
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