Good housekeeping is the first step to a safe workplace. Although vehicular maintenance and equipment safety are important issues, it is also necessary to pay attention to the little things that are often overlooked, like general workplace cleanliness. General cleanliness encompasses the day-to-day duties that every employee handles during the work hours — from keeping the sink clear of sharp knives to putting away materials that are no longer in use. Although you might chalk up many of these actions as common sense, you would be surprised by how many accidents are caused by a general lack of cleanliness.
Step 1: Pay Attention to the Floors
Employee trips and falls are painful, expensive and can result in a loss of mobility that impacts the employee’s life both on and off the job. Basic guidelines should be followed for workplace cleanliness and organization, to minimize the possibility of accidents:
- Keep floors clean so that they do not become slippery. Make sure to clean up tracked in water and mud, spilled chemicals and oil.
- Place “Wet Floor”� signs on the floors when necessary. And when you observe these signs, avoid walking in that area by taking another route.
- Clear all debris or piles from paths in your workplace. Stacks of paper, piles of loose tools, and anything that does not belong in a walkway should not be in a walkway.
- Make sure equipment and materials used in your workplace have safe and proper storage places. The storage areas should not block walkways or impede travel throughout the building.
- If you notice any loose floor tiles or carpeting, or protruding nails and screws, notify your maintenance department.
- Walk in designated walkways. In factories, machine shops and other workplaces, taking shortcuts by walking in between machines and assembly lines can be perilous. Instead, use the designated walkways in your area.
Step 2: Prevent Potential Hazards
From chemical spills to falling objects, the potential hazards in any workplace are staggering. Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Keep these simple tips in mind each day, and you can help reduce the likelihood of injuries.
- Do not stack or put away objects and materials so they overhang or stick out of the place in which they are kept.
- Never pile papers or stack other objects so high that they become unstable.
- Make sure pallets are always stacked in a neat pile with no pallets sticking out.
- Keep a clear route to sprinklers, lights, electrical equipment, vents, fire alarms, and fire extinguishers.
- Make certain hazardous chemicals are stored properly and in the correct, clearly labeled containers. Always keep them sealed according to factory instructions, and never leave them out where they can be tripped over or accidentally spilled.
- Be sure to keep oil away from other debris.
- Dispose of all chemicals and trash properly.
By practicing these good habits on a daily basis, you not only reduce the likelihood of an accident or injury, but you also create a cleaner, more efficient workplace that improves the attitude and energy level of everyone at the job site.