A research initiative which could greatly improve the safety and wellbeing of cleaning operatives who use long reach washing equipment has been supported by a British Cleaning Council (BCC) grant. It has awarded the Federation of Window Cleaners (FWC), one of its members, a €2,300 grant which will allow it to participate fully in a health and safety project being conducted by an industry-wide partnership.
Other partners in the project include HSE, Principle Cleaning, Specialist Window Cleaning Ltd and NJC. Together they are working with ergonomic specialist dorsaVi whose ViSafe wearable body sensors and software can help identify, prioritise and control injury risk by measuring movement profiles and muscle activity in real work environments.
Data generated by dorsaVi's technology will allow HSE and participating partners to better understand the impact on the users back, shoulders and neck when using long pole reach and wash equipment. As a result of this study, which is being conducted over the spring and early summer, the partnership will identify, validate and establish best practice techniques to minimise the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
In addition, they will formulate evidence-based guidance for optimal equipment training, including content and data to integrate into in-house training courses. They also hope to embed a series of best practice principles across the whole of the cleaning sector.
Stan Atkins, Chair of the BCC, said: "The BCC is keen to support any council member who brings forward a viable proposition which add real value to the cleaning industry. This project is a great example of this as it has the potential to reduce the risk of serious and long-term injury which can occur from the repetitive or incorrect use of long reach equipment in the workplace."