When you think about a job well done, ergonomics probably isn’t the first thing that pops into your head. Instead, words like productivity, efficiency, and quality tend to come to mind because they are at the forefront of every sound business leader’s mind. Why? Because productive, efficient, and quality services are a large part of what makes a business successful. The cleaning industry is no exception; ergonomics is paramount because the ability to move comfortably and freely has a profound impact on an industrial cleaning company’s bottom line.
What Is Ergonomics?
The science of ergonomics deals with the design and arrangement of things, focusing on how people physically interact with their environment. For example, when speaking of specific tools or equipment, ergonomics relates to the design characteristics focused on promoting healthy body position and movement.
At ProTeam, we understand that our clients are looking for tools to help their employees do a better, more efficient job — and in less time.
Intentional Design — Everything Has a Purpose
Creating a better vacuum is how it all began, but better can mean many things to different people. For us, better is so much more than powerful suction and filtration. To truly have a more optimal vacuum means we must focus on a better fit, ease of use, and less strain on the body. Every ProTeam vacuum’s design is heavily influenced by what is best for the body — ergonomics is a major part of our design process.
Regardless of the model of vacuum, some fundamentals drive the creation of ProTeam’s products:
- Weight distribution on the hips as opposed to the back
- Adjustable harness with customizable fit
- Breathability for comfort
- Conveniently located power supply
- Versatile attachments
- Increased range of motion
Every ProTeam backpack vacuum is designed to fit close to the body and equipped with an adjustable harness that allows weight distribution to rest on the hips. Padded straps add to the level of comfort, and each area that touches the body is made of breathable mesh to help keep the operator cool. To minimize unnecessary twisting and turning, the on/off switch is conveniently located on the waist belt, and the various attachments allow users to perform most jobs without bending over or getting into difficult positions.
To enhance the ergonomic function of ProTeam vacuums, units are equipped with a padded articulating harness that optimizes a user’s range of motion. The result is increased ease of use during detail and overhead work, reducing operator fatigue while increasing productivity.
A well-designed vacuum doesn’t mean much unless users understand how to correctly fit the vacuum to their body. There are some fundamental rules to keep in mind when fitting a ProTeam backpack vacuum. Freedom of movement is essential when using a backpack vacuum, and a properly fitted unit can offer users new realms of comfort and productivity.
Here is a quick rundown of how to properly fit your ProTeam backpack vacuum:
- Loosen the shoulder straps and waist belt. Lift the vacuum and slide arms through the straps. Loosen or tighten the upper harness buckle for comfort and a customized fit.
2. Connect the waist strap.
3. Tighten the waist belt by grabbing ends of straps and pulling the ends toward each other and then directly outward from the center of the body.
NOTE: The weight of the unit should be concentrated on your hips and not your shoulders.
4. Adjust shoulder straps so the unit fits comfortably, but the weight remains concentrated on the hips.
5. Connect the sternum strap buckle and slide the strap up or down to find the best fit. Tighten the sternum strap so it rests snuggly across the body.
A feature that enhances the comfort of ProTeam vacuums is the height adjustment. The upper harness should rest between the shoulder blades of the user. Units are shipped from the factory with the upper harness in the middle position. Taller users will need to move the harness position up, and shorter users will need to move the harness position down.
To adjust the upper harness, loosen the tension straps and unthread the screw from the unit using a Philips #3 screwdriver. Choose the location you want to move the upper harness to and secure it by threading the screw in all the way.
Ergonomics — More Than Comfort
The design of ProTeam’s backpack vacuums offers users a customizable fit, freeing up the body to move naturally. The ergonomics of these units brings more comfort to custodial workers, but there is more to ergonomics than comfort. As said before, ergonomics is about how people interact with their environment while maintaining healthy body position and movement.
When users properly fit a ProTeam backpack vacuum, they experience several things that positively impact their ability to work — comfort, reduced fatigue, freedom of movement, and increased productivity, to name a few.
These four results of a correctly fitted unit bring a lot to the table for industrial cleaning companies. Increased comfort results in happier employees, and reduced fatigue allows more work to be completed in the same amount of time compared to situations where fatigue is problematic, as is the case with a poorly fitted or poorly designed unit. Comfort, reduced fatigue, and more freedom to move are natural outcomes of proper ergonomics. And when you provide employees with more comfort, less fatigue, and freedom to move, productivity naturally increases. This is definitely the case when comparing backpack vacuums to upright vacuums.
To help put things into perspective, consider the following scenario.
When cleaning a 100,000 square foot (SF) facility, cleaning times differ significantly between uprights and a properly fitted ProTeam Super Coach Pro.
Upright Cleaning Time – 35 hours
Super Coach Pro – 13.5 hours
If you vacuumed 264 days out of the year at $13/hour, you would spend $120,120 using an upright vs. $46,332 with a Super Coach Pro, creating a savings of $73,788* for just one 100,000 SF facility.
Ergonomics is about comfort, as well as increased productivity and significant cost savings. According to OSHA**, when ergonomics is correctly utilized in the workplace, cost savings results from fewer injuries and workman’s comp claims, more productive employees, increased morale, and reduced absenteeism.
The Bottom Line
We built a better vacuum for a reason. The units themselves are designed to have more suction, stir up minimal dust, and do a superior job at vacuuming a wide variety of surfaces. But we also built a better vacuum to bring comfort and the freedom to move to your employees. Why? Because we know that when your employees can move freely and without discomfort, they are more productive, increasingly efficient, and are able to provide your clients higher quality service.
The bottom line — ergonomics is good for business.
Get more backpack vacuum fit tips here!