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Reducing Housekeeping Strains May Be Just a Drop in the Bucket

Clark Dan Posted by Dan Clark

 When it comes to housekeeping workers, back and shoulder strains can be significantly decreased by, literally, a drop in the bucket. 

Housekeeping workers often work with wheeled mop buckets that, when full, can weigh 50 pounds or more.  The buckets are easily filled with dispensing systems or a hose from a sink which doesn’t place a huge physical demand on the worker.  However, considerable stress and strain is put on workers when these buckets are emptied after use.  

 Emptying the buckets, typically in a closet with limited space, places significant forces on the shoulder joints and back.  Many housekeeping workers manually lift these buckets to a sink, or other elevated drain, to empty them.  When doing so, these workers are subject to awkward postures, including lifting and twisting.

An inexpensive solution to avoid costly shoulder and back strains is a drop in the bucket.  A small electric submersible pump (priced between $80 and $100), equipped with a short piece of hose, can be set in the bucket that needs to be emptied.  Pumping the water into the sink or drain will eliminate the heavy, manual lift, twist, and awkward posture.

 Be sure that the electric pump is plugged into a ground-fault circuit and that workers are trained on the proper use of the pump.  This practice is so effective in eliminating the unnecessary, heavy lift and twist that some companies have created policies enforcing the use of these pumps by housekeeping workers. 


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Alan Bingham

There are so many simple things a houskeeper can do to reduce strains this is a simple solution that makes sense. Housekeepers are not really thought of much in the context of ergonomics but they lift mattresses, laundry bags, have repetitive activity and bend constantly. Reducing the lift load, especially with a bend of the back will really help.

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