Never has this phrase been so true as when it comes to housekeeping at work. The negative impressions and implications of poor housekeeping can affect you and your co-workers for a long time to come. Housekeeping refers to maintaining materials, work areas, and walking areas in a clean, orderly, sanitary, safe and dry condition.



Bad housekeeping is dangerous at any time. It leads to increased safety risks, production delays, property damage, and higher costs.


Key points

  • Housekeeping can help prevent injuries and improve productivity.
  • Every worker should play a role in housekeeping, even if simply keeping his or her workspace clean.
  • Housekeeping should be an ongoing process, not a one-time practice.

    Here are some results of poor housekeeping practices:  

  • Injuries, when employees trip, fall, strike or are struck by out-of-place objects.
  • Injuries from using improper tools because the correct tool can't be found.
  • Lowered production because of the time spent maneuvering over and around someone else's mess, and time spent looking for proper tools and materials.
  • Time spent investigating and reporting accidents that could have been avoided.
  • Fires due to improper storage and disposal of flammable or combustible materials and wastes.
    • Substandard quality of finished products because of production schedule delays, damaged or defective finishes, ill-equipped employees, etc.
    • “Wall-to-wall" OSHA/regulatory inspections due to the "first impression" of a compliance officer.

    General housekeeping rules to remember are:

  • Clean up after yourself
  • Pick up your trash and debris and dispose of it properly or place it where it will not pose a hazard to others.
  • Institute a routine cleaning schedule.
  • Keep your work area clean throughout the day. This will minimize the amount of time needed to clean a "larger mess" at the end of the day.
  • Dispose of combustibles and flammables properly. If improperly discarded, they will increase the potential for a fire.
  • Keep aisles, stairways, emergency exits, electrical panels, and doors clear of clutter, and purge untidy areas.
  • Empty trash receptacles before they overflow.
  • Remove protruding nails and other sharp objects or hammer them flat to prevent someone from stepping on them or snagging themselves.
  • Stack materials and supplies orderly and secure them so they won't topple.
  • Wear proper footwear for the right environment.
  • Report immediately any potential safety hazards and accidents, with or without injuries.
  • Besides preventing accidents and injuries, good housekeeping saves space, time, and materials. When a workplace is clean, orderly, and free of obstruction; work can get done safely and properly.

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