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Load of cleaning work - Industry level study in EU

Updated: Jun 17, 2023

EU wide ErgoClean project is aiming to prevent occupational diseases and accidents in cleaning. The project set out to find answers why cleaning is medium-heavy job and where does the load fall? Workload measurements were done with Myontec ErgoAnalysis providing accurate data for analysis and further steps.




Firstly the project did survey with 10 cleaning companies in Estonia, Hungary, Finland and Netherlands to collect and analyse answers regarding cleaning workload.

The percentage of cleaners who had experienced pain in different parts of the body.


Secondly, the project measured 111 work tasks or tests, including repetitions. The measurements were done by Myontec ErgoAnalysis which combines muscle activity, motions, heart rate and video into one, comprehensive loading profile. The products used were:

  • ErgoShirt, smart clothing for upper body measuring load on the arms and shoulder.

  • MBody shorts measuring thigh muscles.

  • ErgoAnalysis software and reporting tool to run quick reports were used for data analysis including load distribution, static load, micro-breaks during muscle work and the elevated position of the upper arms.


ErgoAnalysis solution combines muscle activation of each muscles groups together with motions like arm elevations or leaning with heart rate and video. Splitting recordings into work task is showing load distribution, static load, microbreaks and positions immediately.


There are differences in cleaning methods and practices between project countries. For this reason, methods that were not commonly used in all project countries were also selected for testing. The measurements were carried out in Finland during October and November 2022 in cooperation with the staff of Keuda Cleaning Services. Two cleaners were involved in the studies. Each of the employees performed two repetitions of the tested methods.


The aim of the test was:

  • To receive visualizations about muscle loading when cleaning

  • To get information about muscle loading in different kind of cleaning methods


The objectives were to compare:

  • damp, moist and wet methods when mopping a floor and wiping a table

  • different kind of tools when mopping and wiping

  • different kind of methods when mopping and wiping

  • the effect on physical load of a too long a shaft and too wide a movement when mopping

  • manual floor cleaning methods to machine cleaning

  • different ways to wring a cleaning cloth

  • using a sponge, dishwashing brush and microfiber cloth when cleaning a sink

  • vacuuming a textile floor with vacuum cleaner vs. upright suction cleaner (carpet cleaner), back rack vacuum cleaner


Results:

  • While cleaning, the amount of muscle load was individual, but the results were consistent

  • The amount of moisture in microfiber cloths and mops affects muscle stress

  • It’s beneficial to use machines

  • The tool has an effect on muscle load

  • Too long a shaft and too wide a movement clearly increase muscle load

  • It’s a bit less loading to mop backwards than forwards

  • It is advantageous to use the strength and movement of the leg muscles

  • Avoid sideways movements when wiping surfaces

  • If you don’t master the right way of working, the muscle load is higher

  • Do not wring cleaning cloths, pre-moisten

  • It’s a bit less loading to mop backwards than forwards

  • It is advantageous to use the strength and movement of the leg muscles

  • Avoid sideways movements when wiping surfaces

  • If you don’t master the right way of working, the muscle load is higher

  • Do not wring cleaning cloths, pre-moisten


The results were published on the project page. Read the full report here. The report was prepared by Tarja Valkosalo, Propuhtaus.




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