To some people, the word “housekeeping” calls to mind cleaning floors and surfaces, removing dust, and organizing clutter but in a work setting, it means much more. Housekeeping is crucial to safe workplaces. It can help prevent injuries and improve productivity and morale. The practice extends from traditional offices to industrial workplaces, including factories, warehouses and manufacturing plants that present special challenges such as hazardous materials, combustible dust and other flammables. Experts agree that all workplace safety programs should incorporate housekeeping, and every employees should play a part. In addition, housekeeping should have management’s commitment so employees realize its importance. Here are 6 tips for effective workplace housekeeping.
Eliminate fire hazards
Employees should be responsible for keeping unnecessary combustible materials from accumulating in the work area.
Things employees need to keep on top of include -
A cluttered workplace can lead to ergonomics issues and possible injuries because workers have less space to move.
When an area is cluttered, there is a risk of cuts or laceration injuries, you’re not going to have as much room to set up your workstation like you should and move around, you’re going to be twisting your body rather than moving your whole body.
It is best for workers return tools and other materials to storage after using them, and dispose of materials that are no longer needed.
Keep aisles, stairways, emergency exits, electrical panels and doors clear of clutter, and purge untidy areas. Empty trash receptacles before they overflow.
Store materials properly
Storage areas should not have an accumulation of materials that present hazards for tripping, fire, explosion or pests.
Some employees make the mistake of storing ladders or other items inside electrical closets where they can block an electrical panel, creating a fire hazard and violating regulations.
Unused materials and equipment should be stored out of the way of employees. Avoid using workspaces for storage, and remember to put everything back in its proper place.
Keep a storage space nearby so people are encouraged to use it. There’s a responsibility to keep your work area in order and return tools to where they belong, the storage space, if readily useable, is designed in such a way where it can be used without stretching too far or lifting heavy loads. They’re more likely to use it than if they have to go quite a ways to place something. Or they’re going to keep something rather than go back because they have to take the extra time to get it.
All employees should participate in housekeeping, especially in terms of keeping their own work areas tidy, reporting safety hazards and cleaning up spills, if possible.
Every worker does have a role in housekeeping, if they see something is becoming a problem, they need to report it. Before the end of a shift, workers should inspect and clean their workspaces and remove unused materials. This dedication can reduce time spent cleaning later.
How much debris or contaminants the workplace releases can help determine the frequency of housekeeping. A company should have a mixture of deep cleaning and more frequent, lighter cleaning that involves sweeping and responding to spills.
Create written rules
We recommend that housekeeping policies should be put in writing. That way they are formal and defined. Written protocols could specify which cleaners, tools and methods should be used.
These should be more than a one-time initiative – it should continue through monitoring and auditing. Keep records, maintain a regular walkthrough inspection schedule, report hazards and train employees to help sustain housekeeping. Set goals and expectations, and base auditing on those goals.
With all that in mind, there are still many things that are out of your hands. That’s where Karsons Consulting comes in. We can audit your building to find the hazards that aren’t so preventable. The fire risks, the contamination of water, the safety of electrical systems, all the things that make your building work requires expert help for the nuts and bolts. Contact Karsons Consulting for more detailed advice on how to keep your workplace compliant.