Every employer has the responsibility of ensuring a safe working environment for all employees. There are strict rules and regulations that are put in place and enforced through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Keeping the workplace clean and safe is one of these responsibilities. Each job site creates its own mandate for what is needed to keep it safe and clean. One of the major concerns that good job site housekeeping addresses is the reductions of accidents.

In general:

  • Loose objects on the floors as well as stairs and platforms should be removed or fastened in a safe manner
  • Overhead objects must be fastened securely to prevent them from falling and causing injury
  • Floors must be swept and keep free of debris, as well as safety measures put in place to address slippery or greasy floors
  • Items need to be stacked properly and secured, so they cannot fall onto workers below or nearby
  • There should be no protrusions of dangerous objects, such as wire, strappings or nails that could cause a cut or a puncture wound

When good job site housekeeping habits are implemented, it provides many benefits. This includes the most important benefit: it dramatically reduces the possibility of accidents and injuries.

  • The work area is much more organized, which reduces the cost of material loss due to clutter
  • The possibility of fires or hazardous spills is greatly reduced
  • Increased inventory and equipment control
  • Maintenance and cleanup is more efficient and effective
  • It provides a much more pleasant working environment for all employees
  • Cleaner conditions means a more hygenic environment which in turn means improved health
  • Space is used more effectively
  • Reduction in property damage
  • Increased productivity as workers can concentrate on the tasks at hand and not on working around potential safety hazards

Implementing a Housekeeping Plan

Planning and implementing a housecleaning plan as a regular routine for the workplace might be time consuming to begin with, but once it becomes routine it is easy to follow. It must begin with the workplace layout, which many mean moving materials around so they comply with good housekeeping practices as outlined. If the organization of materials is not practical, it will not be adhered to by workers.

Organization may mean additional costs for the purchasing of appropriate shelving and bins. Storage planning should be implemented to avoid the need of having to move items more than once. Included in this planning should be the methods for moving items throughout the workplace when workers are working.

General safety measures should be implemented and followed. Routines like posting signs when floors are wet and using the proper guards should be part of the policy. The housekeeping routine must be ongoing throughout the workday and not simply at the end of the shift. Workers must be instructed and trained to clean up after themselves in their immediate work area. Proper disposal of general waste must be planned for and implemented.

An individual must be responsible for ensuring the housekeeping plan is fully carried out on a daily basis. Management should also plan for scheduled inspections to ensure that the policies for keeping the workplace clean is carried out.

Dust and Dirt

All surfaces should be kept clean and free of dust and dirt. By doing so, it not only preserves the items being affected, but provides a better air environment for workers. The right cleaning methods should be utilized for the dust and dirt to prevent it from becoming airborne as much as possible.

Employee Facilities

Although this is not a direct work area, it must also be considered as part of the work place. Accidents can happen just as easily in a break room as out on site. As such, these areas should be kept clean and orderly. Lockers should be available, if possible, for workers to store their personal belongings. Quality cleaning supplies should be kept on hand.

Spills

Floors should be cleaned of any type of spill using the proper procedures immediately. Aside from this, floor surfaces should be swept at regular intervals. Any flaws in the floors should be repaired as soon as possible to avoid a tripping hazard.

Aside from the general cleaning and organizing of the work area, all OSHA rules as well as other applicable rules and regulations must be implemented in addition to good workplace housekeeping practices.