A clean workplace is a safer and healthier workplace. To some people, the word “housekeeping” calls to mind cleaning floors and surfaces, removing dust, and organizing clutter. But in a work setting, it means much more. Housekeeping is crucial to safe workplaces. Housekeeping order is "maintained" not "achieved." Cleaning and organization must be done regularly, not just at the end of the shift. Integrating housekeeping into jobs can help ensure this is done.
What is the purpose of workplace housekeeping?
Poor housekeeping can be a cause of accidents, such as:
- tripping over loose objects on floors, stairs and platforms.
- being hit by falling objects.
- slipping on greasy, wet or dirty surfaces.
- striking against projecting, poorly stacked items or misplaced material.
- cutting, puncturing, or tearing the skin of hands or other parts of the body on projecting nails, wire or steel strapping.
- To avoid these hazards, a workplace must "maintain" order throughout a workday.
Although this effort requires a great deal of management and planning, the benefits are many.
All employees, contractors and students are required to:
- Keep the work area clean, free of oil, grease, mud.
- Prevent unnecessary tools/ equipment; scrap metal and other materials from lying around.
- Clean-up spills promptly with proper absorbing materials and agents.
- Place all garbage and waste materials in appropriate containers.
- Store all oily rags in appropriate fire-approved steel containers.
- Keep exterior walkways and stairways free of dust, water, and obstacles.
- Keep interior hallways, stairwells and other traffic areas clear.
- Watch for out for hazards such as nails, pieces of scrap metal, grease and oil.
- Never ignore a potential hazard, even if it is not in your area.
- Clean up during the shift
- Ensure day-to-day cleanup
- Apply proper waste disposal
- Removal of unused materials.
- Keep floors clean and clear of waste.
- Keep workplaces adequately lighted.
- Keep light fixtures clean.
- Inspect and clean machinery and tools regularly.
- Clean up spills immediately.
- Inspect the workplace to ensure cleanup is complete.
- Forget out-of-the-way places such as shelves, basements, sheds, and boiler rooms that would otherwise be overlooked.
- Use aisles and stairways as storage areas.
- Block emergency exits, fire equipment or first aid stations with stored materials.
- Allow materials to build up on floors.
- Store compressed gases near heat sources.