Proper housekeeping is the first sign of a company’s commitment to health and safety. It sets the stage for employees closely following safe work rules and can be a sign of a strong safety culture. Good housekeeping requires organization and teamwork from all members of the company.
If the site is not kept clean, employees are exposed to many unnecessary hazards. Poor housekeeping can lead to a variety of incidents, such as:
• Slips, trips and falls
• Struck-by materials or equipment
• Cuts, punctures and scrapes
A housekeeping plan should be established before work begins and proper materials should be put into place, such as debris chutes and labeled receptacles. Cleaning up needs to be an ongoing effort throughout the work day, and not something that is saved for the end of each shift. In order to maintain a clean work area, follow your company’s policies and the tips below.
Clean up after yourself
Each employee should be responsible for keeping their work area clean and organized. Don’t take shortcuts by leaving a tool on the table that you might not need until the next day. If tools, equipment or materials are not currently in use, put them away in their proper storage place.
Take care of tools and PPE
Tools and personal protective equipment (PPE) need to be inspected for wear and tear before each use. If any defects are noticed, the item should be removed from service. Keeping damaged items around adds unnecessary clutter. Clean your PPE and place it in its’ designated spot when you are done using it
for the day.
Clean up the site as a team
Clean up any spills, broken materials and debris immediately. Debris should be placed in designated areas or containers to avoid the creation of new hazards. For example, combustible materials need to be kept separate and removed from the site as soon as possible.
Prevent falling objects
If materials are stored at a height, make sure they are secured to prevent falling objects. Any designated trash containers or debris piles should be kept at least five feet away from any openings or edges.
Prevent slips, trips and falls
Report any damaged flooring, broken steps, spills or other hazardous walking surfaces, as quickly as possible. These areas should be blocked off until the hazard is fixed. Make sure that materials and tools
are never placed on stairways or platforms and that fire exits and passages are always kept clean.