Weekly Safety Meeting – A Safe Workplace – Is a Clean Workplace

Did you know that over 2/3 of all accidents involve housekeeping in some way, shape, or form?

Approximately 2.5 million disabling injuries happen in the service industry every year with a cost of over 100 billion dollars.

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. If the sight of paper, debris, clutter, and spills is accepted as normal, then other more serious health and safety hazards may be taken for granted.

Housekeeping is not just cleanliness. It 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 from work areas. 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. Good housekeeping is also a basic part of accident and fire prevention.

Effective housekeeping is an ongoing operation: it is not a hit-and-miss cleanup done occasionally. Periodic “panic” cleanups are costly and ineffective in reducing accidents.

Workplace Housekeeping:

Poor housekeeping can be a cause of accidents, such as:

  • Tripping over loose objects on floors, stairs and platforms;
  • Being hit by falling objects;
  • Slipping on greasy, wet, or dirty surfaces;
  • Striking against projecting, poorly stacked items, or misplaced material; and
  • Cutting, puncturing, or tearing the skin of hands or other parts of the body on projecting nails, wire, or steel strapping.

To avoid these hazards, a workplace must maintain order throughout a workday. Although this effort requires a great deal of management and planning, the benefits are many.

Good Housekeeping Habits:

  • Remembering it is part of your daily job duties;
  • Developing a routine cleaning schedule;
  • Reporting overcrowding or unsafe conditions;
  • Clearly marking physical hazards or areas of concern; and
  • Cleaning as you go.
  • Benefits of Good Housekeeping

Effective housekeeping results in:

  • Reduced handling to ease the flow of materials;
  • Fewer tripping and slipping accidents in clutter-free and spill-free work areas;
  • Decreased fire hazards;
  • Lower worker exposures to hazardous substances (e.g. dusts, vapors);
  • Better control of tools and materials, including inventory and supplies;
  • More efficient equipment cleanup and maintenance;
  • Better hygienic conditions leading to improved health;
  • More effective use of space;
  • Reduced property damage by improving preventive maintenance;
  • Less janitorial work;
  • Improved morale; and
  • Improved productivity (tools and materials will be easy to find).

All too often we tend to take housekeeping for granted and let things slide by. But that’s when accidents happen. Safe housekeeping requires that each one of us be constantly on the lookout for hazards and take the necessary action to eliminate or control them. Practice the simple procedures we’ve talked about today and we’ll all be a lot safer.

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