Ergonomics: Cleaning Rooms in Nursing Homes

Ergonomics: Guidelines for Nursing Homes

The following are examples of possible ergonomic solutions for cleaning rooms in nursing homes.

Reaching into Sink

modify sink depth

Description: Tools used to modify a deep sink for cleaning small objects

When to Use: Cleaning small objects in a deep sink.

Points to Remember: Place an object such as a plastic basin in the bottom of the sink to raise the work surface. An alternative is to use a smaller porous container to hold small objects for soaking, transfer to an adjacent countertop for aggressive cleaning, and then transfer back to the sink for final rinsing. Store inserts and containers in a convenient location to encourage consistent use. This technique is not suitable in kitchens/food preparation.

Cleaning Rooms (Wet Method)

cleaning resident rooms

Description: Work methods and tools to clean resident rooms with water and chemical products

When to Use: When cleaning with water and chemical products; and using spray bottles.

Points to Remember:
Cleaning Implement use: Alternate leading hand; avoid tight static grip and use padded non-slip handles.

Spray bottles: Use trigger handles long enough for the index and middle fingers. Avoid using the ring and little fingers.

For all cleaning: Use chemical cleaners and abrasive sponges to minimize scrubbing force. Use kneepads when kneeling. Avoid bending and twisting. Use extension handles, step stools, or ladders for overhead needs. Use carts to transport supplies or carry only small quantities and weights of supplies. Ventilation of rooms may be necessary when chemicals are used.

Avoid lifting heavy buckets, e.g., lifting a large, full bucket from a sink. Use a hose or similar device to fill buckets with water. Use wheels on buckets that roll easily and have functional brakes. Ensure that casters are maintained. Use rubber-soled shoes in wet areas to prevent slipping.

Cleaning wheelchairs: Cleaning workstation should be at appropriate height.

Cleaning Rooms (Electrical)

electrical cleaning devices

Description: Work methods and tools to vacuum and buff floors

When to Use: Vacuuming and buffing floors.

Points to Remember: Both vacuum cleaners and buffers should have lightweight construction,adjustable handles, triggers (buffer) long enough to accommodate at least the index and middle fingers, and easy to reach controls. Technique is important for both devices, including use of appropriate grips, avoiding tight grips and for vacuuming, by alternating grip. The use of telescoping and extension handles, hoses and tools can reduce reaching for low areas, high areas and far away areas. Maintain and service the equipment and change vacuum bags when 1/2 to 3/4 full.

Vacuums and other powered devices are preferred over manual equipment for moderate-to-long duration use. Heavy canisters or other large, heavy equipment should have brakes.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

Updated on: 12/10/09
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Ergonomics: Training Nursing Home Workers
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Ergonomics: Training Nursing Home Workers

Employees should be trained before they lift or reposition residents or perform other work that may involve risk of injury.
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