News / Worker Safety

Ergonomics/ Overreaching in the Workplace

Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.  Housekeeper’s duties can be intense and very demanding on one’s body.  Repetitive motion injuries are a type of injuries and illnesses that results from weeks, months and years of overuse in human bodies. Because of how slow some of symptoms start, people sometimes ignore these conditions until the symptoms become chronic and permanent injury occurs.   However, not all pain will result in long-term disability and your muscles heal very quickly.  Extreme muscle pain will usually diminish within a few days when managed properly. HSS has implemented a number of programs on how to reduce these risks through awareness and safety education.

Some injury risk factors are:

  • Over exertions, including pushing heavy carts and using vacuum cleaners
  • Awkward postures while cleaning bathrooms and making beds
  • Repetitive motions, such as cleaning mirrors and changing pillowcases
  • Maintaining postures for long periods
  • Improper bending and lifting i.e. not using your knees
  • Inadequate rest

Tips for minimizing these injuries include:

  • When making beds, do not bend. Position yourself near the bed and keep your back straight
  • When cleaning surfaces, switch off which arm you are using to allow the other arm to rest
  • When moving carts, keep the heaviest or most commonly used items between your chest and hips – you have more strength in this part of the body
  • Wear comfortable, slip resistant shoes
  • Periodically stretch your back, arms and shoulders
  • Eat healthy, exercise and sleep well

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