Ergonomic evaluation and design of tools in cleaning occupation

Abstract: Many work and environmental factors can affect the health of professional cleaners. In many of the work environments where cleaners are found the conditions that promote various occupational diseases (e.g., musculoskeletal disorders) are readily manageable. Inappropriate and poor working postures, lack of task variation, poor ergonomic design of work places, bad design of cleaning tools and work organization (e.g., long working hours, low salaries and awkward schedules) are all areas where relatively simple interventions can significantly reduce the rate of exposure to occupational disease. The primary goal of this research work was to study, existing cleaning work, cleaning tools, working environment and psychosocial aspects among professional cleaners. Seven different studies were carried out, these included a systematic literature review on risk factors in the cleaning occupation, redesign of cleaning tools, evaluation of cleaning tools, evaluation of working environment and psychosocial aspects of cleaners. The overall conclusion of presented studies is this thesis is that the cleaning job consists of high cardiovascular, muscular, and postural load. Using a participatory ergonomic approach and user-centered design, cleaning problems can be identified comprehensively and can be solved ergonomically, and cleaning tools can be redesigned considering ergonomic aspects by involving the end user. The strategy of participatory ergonomics in cleaning activities can significantly reduce work injuries, absenteeism, and compensation costs while at the same time lead to high quality of work and greater job satisfaction among the workforce.

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