A reader writes: “You talk like backpack units are the only way to clean. I disagree.”

Thanks for your candor but we need to set the record straight. My position has been and continues to be that based on outside third party data, backpack vacuums can be much more productive than upright units. They not only have proven themselves to pick up more soil and dust resulting in less dusting required. They also can be much more ergonomic to users when worn correctly resulting in less chances for an unnecessary workers’ compensation claim. Compare the weight of the wand to the weight of a typical upright unit.

My claims are based not only on my own experience but also those of end users. When I see a worker wearing a wrist strap due to carpal tunnel syndrome or an elbow brace for the same reason I check out their vacuum cleaner. Too many times, it is not being dumped or service correctly. If it is a twin motor unit, think more weight and harder to push resulting in possible wrist damage.

Of course, I have seen abuse of backpack units, as well. I recently observed a worker dragging a backpack on the floor while using the wand like an upright (pushing back and forth). The supervisor acknowledged she had never worn a backpack and had no experience with them. She deferred to the person dragging the vacuum around on the floor since the worker claims that the harness “hurt her back.” Upon closer inspection, her claims might have merit since the harness was very poorly designed and hard to adjust. Purchasing Department probably got a bonus for buying cheaper units that ended up not only costing far more in labor but was certainly a poor picture for the tenants and customers to observe.

It is all about identifying the right tool for the job at hand; then training everyone (including supervision) on not only the how but the why of using the product safely and effectively.

Your comments and questions are important. 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 CTCG50@comcast.net.