What exactly is workplace housekeeping?

It involves keeping not just work areas but the whole of the workplace facility clean, orderly and in sanitary condition. An effective housekeeping program can help you control or eliminate workplace hazards, while poor practices can contribute to incidents and accidents.

Examples of incidents include:

  • tripping over loose objects on floors, stairs and platforms
  • being hit by falling objects
  • slipping on wet or dirty surfaces
  • striking or falling against projecting or poorly stacked items
  • cutting, puncturing, or tearing the hands or other body parts on sharp, projecting items

Workplace Housekeeping

Integrate housekeeping responsibilities into employees’ jobs. A good rule of thumb is to clean up as you go. Training, especially when new employees come on board, is essential so that workers know what is expected and how to work safely. For instance, when is signage, such as “Wet Floor” needed.

Housekeeping maintenance must be done on a regular basis and should include things such as:

  • day-to-day clean-up during an employee’s shift
  • clean-up of facility (clean up spills and leaks, keep aisles and exits clear of items)
  • how to report housekeeping hazards (worn, ripped or damaged flooring)
  • waste disposal and removal of unused materials
  • inspections to ensure clean-up is complete

Benefits of Workplace Housekeeping Program

  • fewer tripping and slipping incidents
  • decreased fire hazards
  • lower worker exposures to hazardous products (e.g. dusts, vapors)
  • better control of tools and materials, including inventory and supplies
  • more efficient equipment cleanup and maintenance
  • better hygienic conditions leading to improved health
  • reduced property damage by improving preventive maintenance
  • improved productivity (tools and materials will be easy to find)

Resources:

• OSHA: Common Safety and Health Topics
• Sample – Housekeeping Checklist
• Establishing a Housekeeping Program

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