Oftentimes the smallest hazards can be the most dangerous ones in the workplace. From slippery floors and loose boards to protruding nails and cluttered walkways, there might be potential threats everywhere you turn at your office or jobsite. However, if you follow a few simple guidelines, you can easily remove these dangers and keep your workplace safe for your employees.
Disorderly = Dangerous
A cluttered and untidy workplace can lead to countless employee injuries and illnesses. For example, employees can slip on wet or poorly maintained floors, trip over boxes and other clutter in hallways, or bang their head on overhanging objects or badly stacked pallets. An unkempt workplace can also result in employees having a negative attitude toward safety in general. After all, if their employer doesn’t seem to care about safety, why should they?
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), “All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms shall be kept clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.” As the employer, you are responsible for ensuring that the floors in your workplace are safe, tripping hazards are removed from walkways, and any other threats, such as nails, splinters, holes or loose boards, are repaired.
A clean workplace is a safe one
To make your workplace safer and your employees happier, follow these general good housekeeping tips:
- Make common housekeeping tasks part of every employee’s job. Everyone should pitch in to ensure a safe workplace.
- Always keep walkways clear of boxes, debris, tools and equipment.
- Ensure that all pallets are stacked properly.
- Remove any hazardous overhanging or protruding objects, especially in walkways and common work areas.
- Thoroughly check the workplace for any tripping hazards, including slippery floors, badly placed rugs, damaged carpet, holes and loose boards. Remove or repair these dangers immediately.
- Ensure that no aisles or exits are blocked with boxes, equipment or other obstructions.
- Keep floors well-maintained and clean. Always place “wet floor” signs on recently mopped floors.
In addition to these general housekeeping tips, you should also educate your employees about fire prevention. Ensure that your staff is aware of the following fire safety facts:
- An over-crowded storage area can cause a fire to spread more rapidly and can also block the spray from fire extinguishers or water sprinklers, making a fire more difficult to extinguish.
- Blocked aisles can also contribute to the spread of fire and can prevent fire fighters from reaching and extinguishing the blaze.
- Fire extinguishers and other fire-fighting equipment should never be blocked.
- Never obstruct heating equipment, vents, lighting and electrical equipment.
- Workplace fires are often caused by oil or debris that has collected in corners or other areas. That’s why it’s important to keep even rarely used areas clean and clear of clutter.
If you follow these simple good housekeeping steps and educate your employees about fire and safety hazards, you’ll be well on your way to a safer workplace. Not only will workplace accidents be much less likely, but your employees will be happier and more comfortable on the job.