Our latest Safetip is about developing and writing an effective workplace housekeeping program.
What is Workplace Housekeeping?
When they hear the word “housekeeping”, many people think that it’s about keeping places clean. But workplace housekeeping is much more than that.
It’s about controlling and reducing hazards by:
- Keeping work areas neat.
- Making sure that floors are free from slip, trip and fall hazards (spills, loose objects or wires).
- Removing waste and other items (paper, clutter) that can cause fire hazards.
- Getting rid of items that can cause cuts or minor injuries (nails, metallic debris, etc.)
As part of an effective workplace housekeeping program, you should also assess the layout of the workplace, and pay attention to storage and maintenance.
Workplace housekeeping should not be seen as an occasional cleanup. It’s an ongoing activity.
What Makes a Housekeeping Program Effective?
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOHS), a good housekeeping program plans and manages the orderly storage and movement of materials “from point of entry to exit”. The goal is to ensure minimal material handling by having a material flow plan.
An effective plan makes sure that work areas are not used as storage areas by having workers move materials to and from work areas as needed, CCOHS says. Work procedures can be developed by using the workplace layout and information on the movement of materials.
An effective workplace housekeeping program also includes training. Workers must know how to work safely with the products they use, and how to protect other workers by posting signs, reporting any unusual conditions, etc.
They also must make sure not to forget places that might be overlooked such as shelves, basements, sheds and boiler rooms.
Integrating housekeeping into jobs can also help make the program more effective.
Finally, CCOHS says that a good housekeeping program identifies and assigns responsibilities for the following:
- Clean up during the shift
- Day-to-day cleanup
- Waste disposal
- Removal of unused materials
- Inspections to ensure cleanup is complete
Our Safetips share safety tips or best practices that contribute to safety excellence. Visit Enablon Insights regularly for new Safetips!