Modified Floor Scraper

Scraping gum off the floor is a task performed daily by custodians at this hospital.

Sustained forward-bending when scraping chewing gum from floor of building lobby. This led to frequent complaints of lower back pain among custodial staff, who were bent forward up to 90 degrees at the waist, and flexed the shoulder up to 90 degrees, along with neck extension and ulnar deviation of the wrist while using the hand-held scraper. No workers compensation claims had been filed.

The scraper blade was removed from the handle and attached to an old broomstick. A foam grip was added at the top of the handle.

Less than $10.00

Evaluation of Intervention

  • Pros
  • Shoulder and back flexsion decreased
  • Neck extension decreased
  • The new scraper tool easily fits in a custodial cart
  • Well accepted by custodian staff
  • Cons
  • Potential for higher moment at wrist
  • Potential for higher grip force

Semi-Quantitative Evaluation of Intervention

  • Reduction of Identified Risk Factor
  • No New Risk Factors Introduced
  • Productivity not Reduced
  • Low Cost
  • Total
  • 3/5
  • 5/5
  • 5/5
  • 5/5
  • 18/20

Other Possible Interventions

  • Scrape in the squat position instead of forward bending
  • Chemical application to the gum so that it slides easily off the floor
  • Add grip handles to shaft of scraper

Ira Janowitz