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International project „Cleaning ergonomics – to prevent occupational diseases and accidents“ 

 

 

The opening meeting of the Erasmus+ project “Cleaning ergonomics – to prevent occupational diseases and accidentstook place in Tallinn from 24th to 25th January 2022.  

Ergonomics is an important area for occupational health. Cleaning is semi-hard physical work that an employee should be able to do from entering the full-time labour market until retirement. Occupational health is very important for this. There are various hazards in the work environment of cleaning service workers: chemical, biological, physical, mental. In the case of occupational diseases, the effects are usually noticeable years later, and it may be difficult to establish links between working conditions and the effects, but they do exist.  

Lead Partner Puhastusekspert OÜ organized their training materials during the 2020. The part of cleaning ergonomics was assembled more than 20 years ago. They started compiling newer materials, searched for information, materials to rely on, and communicated with cleaning specialists and occupational health specialists in Estonia and abroad. It was hoped to find relevant modern materials. They were not found, other trainers, such as Tarja Valkosalo, the partner of this project, also pointed out the need for good modern cleaning ergonomics materials. Examining the available research and analyses, it became clear that everyone recognizes the lack of awareness, the lack of materials and the importance of the topic. Cleaning ergonomics is an important area that directly affects human health. Developing good, knowledge-based materials is a big job. 

 In May 2021 we presented project application to Erasmus+ and started with project November 2021. For the project we needed a variety of partners who were enthusiastic about the field and also had the required experience. Achieving the desired result and making the necessary changes is more likely by managing the project ourselves. This is the reason why Puhastusekspert decided to be the lead partner because we have experience from several previous projects in which we have been partners, and we are currently managing a project as well. Prior experience suggests that successful project work is based on a reliable and hard-working team. This is why a variety of partners are involved in the project, as they help maintain a balance. Propuhtaus – the company’s leader Tarja Valkosalo has worked in the field of cleaning for more than 30 years, trained others and written books and articles. Tarja has experience in searching for and processing scientific studies. She is aware of international developments. She has also prepared materials about ergonomics in the field of cleaning in the past. SVS – the biggest trainer and developer in the field of cleaning in the Netherlands. The company has extensive experience in the preparation and dissemination of training materials, including about ergonomics. Brite-Sol Korlátolt Felelősségű Társaság (Hungarian cleaning company) – Hungary is a country in which the provision of cleaning services is a newer area in comparison with the Netherlands. We would like to test the materials developed in the project and measure their impact. The company is just the right size for this purpose. 

 Duration 3 years within the project, we plan to implement the following activities:  

  • mapping the available cleaning ergonomics materials, we give an overview of where they can be found;  
  • finding out the 20 most common causes of occupational diseases and accidents in the field of cleaning;  
  • identifying the needs of cleaning companies to improve cleaning ergonomics, to which more attention should be paid in vocational education;  
  • compiling study materials (educational films) to prevent the 20 most common occupational diseases and accidents and focus on the possibility of their international use, regardless of the language skills of the employee and the cleaning specifics of the area; 
  • making the prepared materials available to everyone free of charge; 
  • preparing a risk analysis, on the basis of which cleaning companies can carry out a risk analysis in their own company; 
  • preparing a training program and conduct pilot training to prevent the 20 most common occupational diseases and accidents.  
  • piloting, testing the use of the prepared materials and measure their impact in a Hungarian 
  • cleaning company; 
  • carrying out active outreach activities involving associated partners, social media, direct contacts, multiplier event. 

Partners info: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope to reduce the number of occupational diseases and accidents in cleaning by at least 10%. At the moment there is 1 fixed occupational accident or disease per 50 employees per year. If we meet the goal set in the project by reaching 84,000 people, then statistically there are 1,680 accidents at work or occupational diseases per year for such a number of people. 10% of that is 168, which we hope to avoid every year. We hope to study the situation in more detail by monitoring the experiment on the introduction of materials in a Hungarian cleaning company. In addition, we plan to conduct feedback surveys on the implementation of project results. We hope to publish the results to encourage companies to pay more attention to work ergonomics and achieve a safe and healthy working environment for cleaning service providers. 

 The project has real value for a large number of people, more than 4 million cleaning workers work in the European Union. Its opportunity to improve the lives and health of many people. 

 More information: