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.
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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