In 2003, the HSE published Caring for Cleaners: Guidance and case studies on how to prevent musculoskeletal disorders. This has since been withdrawn. The original document gave a good insight into the topic including the root causes of health problems e.g. “poorly organised work”, “a lack of time”, “poor scheduling”, “fear of making mistakes” and “unsuitable working at height”.
As we are aware, cleaning is demanding and labour intensive work. Full time workers in particular risk pain affecting the back, neck, shoulders and upper limbs. Injuries may result if equipment is too heavy to move, e.g. Floor polishing machines. Manual lifting may also be a concern when moving bags of rubbish.
When selecting staff to use heavy machinery you should make sure they are fit enough for the task and are properly trained. Using lighter equipment will help and breaking tasks up with lighter duties will assist.