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16 January 2019
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Cutting-edge ergonomic research is needed © iStock

15 May 2018 Herpreet Kaur Grewal


A research initiative that could improve the safety and well-being of operatives who use long-reach washing equipment has been given a boost by a British Cleaning Council (BCC) grant.


The BCC has awarded its member, the Federation of Window Cleaners (FWC), a £2,000 grant that will allow it to fully participate in a health and safety project being conducted by an industry-wide partnership.


Other partners in the project include the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Principle Cleaning, Specialist Window Cleaning Ltd, and NJC. Together, they are working with ergonomic specialist dorsaVi, whose unique 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 user’s 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.


In addition, it will formulate evidence-based guidance for optimal equipment training, including content and data to integrate into in-house training courses. It also hopes 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 adds 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.”


Andrew Lee, chair of the Federation of Window Cleaners, said: “The introduction of reach and wash equipment has been very effective at reducing the need to work at height.


“However, this equipment brings its own challenges in risk for injury to the user from repeated movements of the lower back, shoulders and neck. We are greatly looking forward to working with the HSE, dorsaVi and all the other partners to help tackle some of these issues through cutting-edge ergonomic research, and we would like to thank the BCC for supporting our participation in this exciting and important project.”