Safetip #3: Maintain a Workplace Housekeeping Checklist
What is workplace housekeeping?
Workplace housekeeping consists of managing and taking care of workplace premises and equipment. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), effective housekeeping can eliminate some workplace hazards and help get a job done safely and properly. Poor housekeeping can frequently contribute to accidents by hiding hazards that cause injuries.
Housekeeping is not just about keeping a workplace clean. It also includes keeping work areas neat and orderly; maintaining halls and floors free of slip and trip hazards; and removing waste materials (e.g., paper, cardboard) and other fire hazards, CCOHS says. It also requires paying attention to important details such as the layout of the whole workplace, aisle marking, the adequacy of storage facilities, and maintenance.
Why is workplace housekeeping important?
Facility housekeeping was identified as one of the top leading indicators for safety in a survey. It’s easy to understand why. Effective housekeeping can result in such benefits as:
- Reduced handling to ease the flow of materials.
- Fewer accidental trips and slips in clutter-free and spill-free work areas.
- Fewer fire hazards.
- Lower worker exposures to hazardous chemicals (e.g. dusts, vapors).
- Better hygienic conditions leading to improved health.
Create and maintain a workplace housekeeping checklist
It is important to realize that effective housekeeping is an ongoing operation. It is not a facility cleanup performed occasionally. As CCOHS says, “periodic ‘panic’ cleanups are costly and ineffective in reducing accidents”. To make the process effective, create a workplace housekeeping checklist, but more importantly, review it periodically to make sure it is up-to-date. Changes in processes, equipment and personnel can have impacts on specific housekeeping tasks and items.
Here are links to some additional resources on workplace housekeeping:
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