Good housekeeping at work means keeping both the facility itself and your own workspace clean, neat, and orderly. The reason housekeeping should be a priority is because it is the first line of defense in any company’s accident prevention strategy.
If housekeeping is to be effective, it has to be ongoing, not an activity that’s performed before management inspects the premises. Failure to keep up with necessary housekeeping tasks can result in employees:
- Tripping over loose objects on floors, stairs and platforms
- Being struck by falling objects
- Slipping on greasy, wet or dirty surfaces
- Hitting against projecting, or poorly stacked items
- Cutting, puncturing, or tearing the skin of hands or other parts of the body
To maintain the facility properly, materials, supplies and parts must be stored in their designated storage areas when not in use, tools and equipment must be arranged in an orderly manner and placed away from traffic areas, scraps or debris in the department must be removed on a daily basis, and stairways and platforms must be kept clear. Attention should also be paid to keeping the aisles and passageways clear. Never store or stack materials in aisles.
When you keep the facility clean, you lessen the chances of both employee and visitor accidents because you will have removed the things that cause slipping, tripping, and falling. You have also lessened the likelihood that people will be involved in “struck by,” “striking against,” and “caught-between” accidents.
If your work area is in disarray because of a project you are working on, or if you cannot immediately clean your workstation, make people aware of the danger by posting signs that alert them to the potential risk.
In addition to accident prevention, there are other benefits to maintaining good housekeeping:
- There is an easier flow of materials, which reduces handling and saves time.
- Clutter-free and spill-free work areas expedite movement, again saving time.
- There is a decrease in the number of fire hazards.
- Exposures to hazardous substances are reduced.
- There is a better control over tools and materials because you know where to find them.
- Without obstacles in the way, it is easier to clean and maintain equipment.
- The environment is more hygienic, which improves health.
- There is a more effective use of space.
- The likelihood of materials and equipment being damaged is reduced.