In all working environments, whether at a job site, plant or office, one of the most challenging hazards to control is poor housekeeping. Keeping the work area clean is a full time, often frustrating task. And no matter how hard you try, it usually doesn’t stay clean for very long. Nevertheless it is critical to keep the work area free from clutter. And if one or two crew members are careless or untidy, the rest of the crew shouldn’t let that behavior lower the standards. The root cause of many accidents and injuries is found to be poor housekeeping. Typical injuries resulting from a cluttered environment are slips and trips, being struck by something, or striking against an object. How many times have you ignored a spill on the ground, walked past a blocked aisle way, or stepped over an object in the work area instead of moving it? Those are accidents waiting to happen!
Another hazard associated with poor housekeeping is fire. Excess trash, debris and oily rags can be fire starters. Overcrowding and improper storage of materials can block fire extinguishers and sprinkler heads, not to mention exit
doors. Good housekeeping should be part of everyone’s daily responsibilities. The results can be:
· Higher production levels
· Improved production time, and lower costs
· Better use of space
· Improved employee morale
· Lower accident rates
Here are some ways to help make “good housekeeping” a way of life:
1. Make sure all employees understand that housekeeping is part of their daily job duties.
2. Plan the job. Make sure there is adequate space for tools, raw materials, and finished products.
3. Make it easy to keep trash and debris off the floors by providing adequate trash bins.
4. Develop a routine cleaning schedule.
5. Encourage employees to report overcrowding or unsafe conditions.
6. Conduct frequent inspections of work areas.
7. Do not allow employees to eat, drink or smoke in the work area.
8. Don’t use boxes or barrels as chairs, doorstops, step stools or ladders.
9. Clearly mark physical hazards or areas of concern. Color code first aid, fire extinguisher and exit locations. Also
mark aisle ways, electrical panels and machine hazards.
10. Properly maintain the equipment. Proper lubrication and cleaning of machines lessen the chance for breakdown,
fluid leaks, etc.