Did you know that housekeeping is one of the most important elements of safety? If your facility has a poor housekeeping program, it’s likely to have an increased number of accidents and injuries. In fact, OSHA standards require employers to maintain a safe workplace by eliminating or controlling hazards. Housekeeping can help prevent accidents and injuries from occurring in your facility.
And there are two OSHA standards that regulate spill cleanup and housekeeping in the workplace, namely: OSHA 29 CFR 1910.22 (in the general industry), CFR 1926.25 (in construction-related activity) and the CFR 1910.120 (HAWOPER and emergency response). These tackle specific rules in conducting housekeeping in the workplace. To learn more, click the link.
In our company, we do housekeeping and cleaning every Thursday at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and lasts for about 1 hour. Bells and sirens are sounded to alert employees about the tasks to be done. From lowly workers to superiors are participating, no one is exempted from doing these tasks.
We take notice of the cleaning and housekeeping at the construction Jobsite and in the laydown area as these are the most vulnerable places where an accident is likely to happen because of a lot of debris.
We do have a list of good practices and safety procedures in conducting housekeeping in vulnerable areas, and here are some of them:
What Practices You Can Do to Comply with These OSHA Standards
- Get rid of form and scrap lumber with protruding nails, splinters, and other debris including loose boards and outside grounds must be removed from the work area. During the course of housekeeping, if such materials are found, report them immediately, items mentioned may cause injury such as a cut, puncture or tear the skin.
- Providing clear area within the vicinity, passageways and stairs, in and around buildings including fire exits. Protection such as toe board, toenail or net prevents hitting workers or equipment. Stack boxes and other materials straight up and place heavier objects on lower shelves.
- At a regular interval during the course of construction, combustible scraps such as fibers, wood shavings, hay straw, rubber trimmings and metal fines etc. shall be removed in order to facilitate a safe working environment for everyone.
- Keep a limited amount of flammable materials that are only required for the job and keep them away from lights and electrical equipment. Avoid contaminating clothes with flammable liquids or substances.
- Trained workers in concern with housekeeping must expedite cleaning etiquette if oil, grease, or leakage takes place. Workers shall maintain the machinery and equipment preventing dirt and grease build-up that could lead to a spill.
- Designate a smoke permitted area and put all cigarettes completely out in ashtrays. Provide mats, platforms and false floors or “other dry standing places”. Maintain floors in a dry condition. There shall be a sign displayed to bring awareness to construction employees and workers indicating hazard warnings. Reduction of property damage by having improved maintenance is necessary.
- Avoid keeping food and beverages in work areas that may be contaminated with chemicals and may cause slipping or tripping hazards. Waste bins shall be provided for the collection and separation of used rags, trash, and material waste.
- There should be a designated container for flammable, oily, and hazardous waste, such as equipment oil and fluids, acids, harmful dust, etc. These containers must be fitted with metal covers and should be properly labeled for easy identification. Trash and other unnecessary things should be taken away at frequent times daily.
- All employees involved shall take responsibility for identifying and eliminating hazards this includes keeping their workspace neat, clean and safe. Keeping the aisle, passageway and stairway clear and uncluttered.
- Keep drawers closed and place tools or materials in their assigned places when not in use. Report broken items or any equipment that exhibits signs of anomaly so proper action can be taken. Lastly, an inspection must be made to ensure clean-up is complete.
- It is essential to practice good housekeeping to steer clear of accidents and lower exposure of workers to hazardous products. This also creates better control of tools and materials, including inventory and supplies. Also improves productivity, morale and lessens janitorial work within the work area.
To Make a Conclusion
Spill and clean-up and housekeeping are a vital part of any business. It’s not just about making sure the office looks nice, it’s about keeping your employees safe and productive. When you have a clean, well-organized space, everyone can do their best work.
If you’re not paying attention to housekeeping at work, you could be putting your employees in danger. Not only does a dirty workplace make for unhappy employees, but it can also lead to accidents and injuries on the job.
Be always in compliance with the OSHA standards that regulate spill clean-up and housekeeping.