37 Pages


Results of national and international surveys indicate that cleaners (typically older females) have a high incidence of reporting musculo-skeletal disorders (Woods et al, 1999). Cleaners' tasks involve a combination of mopping, vacuuming and the use of industrial cleaners such as buffing machines. Ergonomics evaluations of such buffing machines have indicated that there are genuine concerns about user interactions with the design and handling of cleaning machines (Woods et al, 1999, Haslam and Williams, 1999). Multidisciplinary European research has previously called for the selection of cleaning machines with the technical properties to allow long-term use without unnecessary strain on the users (Kruger et al 1997). Although Kruger et al recognised that technical advances are being made, they also identified a need for methods for systematic ergonomics evaluation of new products on the market. In order to address these issues in the present study, ergonomics evaluation of a range of new and original designs of single disc industrial floor cleaners (SDFCs) was undertaken by user trials with habitual users of SDFCs. This provided both subjective data from users (to evaluate preferences for a variety of SDFC design features), and observational data of the different techniques used and problems experienced by subjects.