Custodial operations can be an intense, focused, fast paced and physically challenging job.  It oftentimes requires repetitive motion, stretching, bending, lifting and other exertions.  It means exposure to dust, chemicals, equipment, different floor surfaces and other hazards.  There is also increased risk of exposure to pathogens that can cause illness or even death in some cases.  All of these factors can affect performance and productivity as well as impact the physical and mental exertion that causes the worker to run out of “steam” before he/she ends their shift.  In addition many workers who are part time come to work after putting in an eight hour day and are not necessarily at their best.  

Following are some suggestions to consider:

1. Take into account the reality that workers who have other jobs may not have the same energy level that you would hope for.

2. Consider implementing a course on stretching before start of shift.

3. Implement frequent, but short breaks to allow for work “sprints” and try to avoid marathons.

4. Encourage workers to keep hydrated with water and avoid too many sodas or coffee.

5. Rotate work assignments so that they are not performing the same tasks over and over working the same muscle groups.

6. Rotate work so that they are not always performing very strenuous or very light work day after day.

7. Train workers to take into account the risk of carpel tunnel syndrome and other muscular-skeletal injuries by switching hands, arms, etc.

8. Train and retrain in proper lifting, walking, bending and stretching form.

Invest a little time up front to avoid expensive workers compensation claims due to neglecting your worker’s basic needs.  Please note the preceding is suggestive only since regulations will vary by government entity.  It is highly recommended that reader consult with local SME (subject matter experts) on any safety related topic and use the preceding as a starting point.  Go to for more information or use a search engine for local and state regulations.  

Your comments and questions are always welcome. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or