Custodians, Maintenance Workers and Groundskeepers
Heavy work and lifting are a way of life for many custodial workers, maintenance workers and groundskeepers. Custodial workers and cleaners often push and pull furniture and heavy equipment and move heavy boxes. Women custodial workers often are injured because they use heavy equipment, such as buffers, that were designed for men. Groundskeepers lift heavy bags of fertilizer, soil and salt. Staff members often ride on tractors and mowers that vibrate the spine and musculoskeletal system. Twisting, bending and/or lifting while twisting are common movements that strain the musculoskeletal system. These daily activities often are performed several times in one day. Several months or years of these activities can spell trouble for the back, arms and shoulders. Most custodians, maintenance workers and groundskeepers learn to live with chronic lower back pain. Many tell horror stories of damaged shoulders and arms that require surgery and rehabilitation.
The list of injuries sustained by these workers often includes:
- Muscle strain
- Ligament and tendon injuries
- Spinal disk degeneration
- Back muscle strains
- Rotator cuff injuries (shoulder injuries)
- Tennis elbow
HEALTHY HINTS FOR CUSTODIANS, MAINTENANCE WORKERS
The AFT-PSRP Department can provide further information on ergonomics and preventive programs through the AFT-PSRP Occupational Safety and Health Program at (800) 238-1133, extension 5674.