From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Ergonomics- School Custodians


Task Prior to Abatement (Description)

Worker had to scrub and burnish the floors, clean the carpets, lift garbage cans above shoulder level to empty into the dumpster, and carry cafeteria tables to mop the floor daily.

Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Verified Hazard)

Ergonomic assessment of the job verified that numerous tasks performed by the custodian were hazardous.

Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Identified Hazard)

Worker suffered from serious shoulder injury.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Force)

A pushing/pulling force of over 50 lbs was required to operate the carpet cleaner.

Lifting garbage cans in excess of 100 lbs above shoulder level.

Carrying cafeteria tables which weighed 80 lbs.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Other)

Severe vibration caused by aging floor scrubbing and burnishing equipment was transferred to worker.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Title of Other)


Ergonomic Risk Factor (Posture)

Awkward postures were required to perform the tasks.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Repetition)

Repetitive motion of the shoulder was required to vacuum large areas.

Ergonomic Solution (Engineering Controls)

  1. Purchasing two new self-propelled, low vibration floor scrubbers (one big and one small) for use in different areas. Purchasing a new low vibration burnisher.
  2. Purchasing a wide self-propelled vacuum and a small light-weight one for use in different areas.
  3. Installing a portable cart dumper for lifting the 100 lb garbage cans.
  4. Purchasing ten new fold-up, rolling cafeteria tables.
  5. Providing a Genie Load Lifter hand truck to lift and place cartons of paper, AV equipment, etc.

Ergonomic Solution (Benefits)

  • Avoiding training and saving claim costs up to $ 26,440.
  • Increasing the employer’s premium by five percent.
  • Avoiding recruitment and training of a new employee.
  • No gap in income for the worker.
  • Reduced work days lost.
  • Keeping of all accrued benefits including public employees’ retirement pension by worker.

Ergonomic Solution (Cost)

Total costs of the workplace modifications were $ 24,470.

Ergonomic Solution (Method Which Verified Effectiveness)

Continuous employment of the worker by the school district for four years so far.


Modifying work-style and workstations to incorporate ergonomics issues has great positive effects for returning the workers to their previous jobs.