In my experience, the primary reasons for prolonged resistance to backpack models is often tied to effective, consistent training and discipline of the individual user. The common misconception associated with the term “Backpack” lends a casual bystander to think the weight is carried and stressed placed on the back of the user. Anyone who has been properly trained and experienced with the ”Pro Team coach” series knows that this is not the case. In my organization the operators have been very vocal and expressive on their initial concerns. From a staff of over a hundred custodians there are only two exceptions who both have ergonomic issues from preexisting conditions that make the backpack unfeasible. For these operators, substitutions have been provided in the form of an upright and a canister respectively.
What we discovered from analysis and survey was that each wearer needed to adjust the units to their particular body dynamics (As per training program) . As long as they remained the proprietary user of that specific device, then proper fit and weight displacement was maintained. The straps around hips, chest and shoulders were correctly aligned thus keeping the center of gravity maintained over the hips as opposed to pulling backward or down on the shoulders. If logistics or budget require the device to be shared by multiple operators; then discipline comes into play at this point. This scenario requires the device be properly readjusted each time it is used. Once the fit was correct , the employment of the device with a consistent observance of body ergonomics was the last piece to a the puzzle. This retraining takes time to perfect but once the benefits and versatility are fully explored, then the operator can make full use over the course of a full shift and recognize time savings in areas of soil removal and time management.
The few holdouts who resisted change were allowed to express their objective opinions and concerns. The Pro Team representative was able to address these issues and conduct hands on, real time demonstrations and find realistic workable solutions. With peer analysis, feedback and ongoing training to reinforce proper safety procedures for equipment use our transition was successful. My final assessment: no one piece of equipment can do it all. The canisters and upright units have their place. It is still about finding the best tool for the job at hand to support IAQ, and overall cleanliness.
Director Custodial Operations
San Ramon Valley Unified School District