Custodial workers at the University of Missouri are openly participating in assessments that will hopefully reduce stresses and strains associated with the work they do. According to Columbia Daily Tribune reporting, two occupational therapy students have been shadowing cleaners as they move throughout the facilities. The goal of the assessments is to reduce the strain associated with repetitive sweeping motions, reaching behind stools and lifting dozens of trash cans.

Students followed the custodial crews around for a couple of days, recording their work routines and bad body mechanics. Cameras were used to document bad examples of physical movement and possible remedies were quickly jotted down. For instance, bending to one side to pick up a short trash can is a no-no, according to the article. Instead, workers should face the trash can, bend at the knees and pick it up that way.

At the completion of the assessment, students plan to present their findings to the custodial staff, hoping the workers will make minor adjustments to make their tasks less strenuous on their bodies.

According to reports, this is the fourth time occupational therapy students have teamed up with Campus Facilities to observe and suggest ways to improve tasks. The initiative has been beneficial as instances of injury have gone down and most suggestions come at no cost. Stretching recommendations, for example, have reduced sprains and strains, and covering the wire handle of a 5-gallon bucket with foam made it easier to carry.

Click here to read this full article.