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Safety Management Insights

Effective Tips for Workplace Housekeeping

Posted by Don Brown on Nov 29, 2016 9:30:00 AM

worker-falling-off-ladder-warehouse.jpgEffective housekeeping is crucial for workplace safety and efficiency. A clean environment reduces hazards and distractions, while clutter increases the likelihood of falls, spills and other dangerous incidents. The following are 10 effective tips for workplace housekeeping you can use to create a safer environment at your company.

 
Effective housekeeping is crucial for workplace safety and efficiency. A clean environment reduces hazards and distractions, while clutter increases the likelihood of falls, spills and other dangerous incidents. The following are 10 effective tips for workplace housekeeping you can use to create a safer environment at your company.
1. Prevent slips, trips, and falls.
Slips, trips, and falls are the third leading cause of injuries that take workers off the job. Quickly clean spills, clear walkways and use anti-slip flooring and grab bars where necessary.
2. Contain fire hazards.
According to OSHA's hazardous materials standard, combustibles should be stored in covered metal containers and disposed of daily.
3. Prevent cross-contamination.
Regularly clean cloth and sticky surfaces to avoid the spread of germs between departments, work sites, and employee's homes.
4. Train your employees in effective housekeeping.
Good housekeeping is a bottom-up endeavor. Make sure every worker understands the small responsibilities that lead to big safety improvements.
5. Recognize and reward top performers.
Recognition for a job well done can massively improve engagement. Incentivize safe behaviors, but steer clear of outcome-based rewards to avoid under-reporting.
6. Store materials in their proper places.
Accumulated materials can present hazards for tripping, fires, explosions and more. OSHA's Materials Handling, Storage, Use and Disposal Standard outlines procedures for safe storage.
7. Routinely inspect personal protective equipment.
Most head, eye, hand, and foot injuries are the result of not wearing proper PPE. Regularly inspect, repair, and replace equipment to ensure workers can do their jobs safely and efficiently.
8. Keep dust under control.
Dust explosions can be catastrophic, and even a 1/32-inch-thick layer poses significant risk. For most places industrial vacuums or wet cleaning methods are necessary.
9. Clear out clutter.
Clutter causes inefficiency and greater potential for slips, trips, and falls. Keep all aisles, stairways, and emergency exits clear, and ensure workers return tools and materials to storage as quickly as possible.
10. Write out your rules.
From simple storage requirements to specific cleaning methods and schedules, housekeeping policies should be clearly defined and displayed.
 
Don't underestimate the importance of housekeeping as one of the basics of a good solid safety system. Good housekeeping is an indication of good management and engaged and responsive employees. Even the smallest amount of employee turnover can begin to cause the loss of these key values. Consistent vigilance, training, and corrective action is required to keep these behaviors in place.
Being an EHS or safety manager brings many responsibilities, including keeping your employees' work environments clean and safe. For more ways to make your job easier, download our guide 9 Ways to Make Your Job as a Safety Manager Easier.
 
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