Housekeeping – Construction Sites
Did you know that over two thirds 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.
Housekeeping is everyone’s job – every trade, every worker, and every supervisor. Good housekeeping does more than prevent injuries – it can save you time, and it can keep your tools from being lost, damaged, or destroyed. Spending just 5 minutes picking up debris could prevent an injury that keeps a co-employee, or yourself, off work for weeks or even months.
Construction sites can be busy and hectic with many workers and multiple contractors carrying on different yet simultaneous operations. What would happen if these groups never cleaned up after themselves? Trash and debris would pile up to become one large hazardous obstacle course.
Imagine how difficult it would be to maneuver around such a site.
How would you dodge the falling materials thrown or accidentally pushed over the sides of the building?
- How would you find your tools and supplies if they were covered by debris from other workers?
A construction site with poor housekeeping is not productive nor is it a safe working environment.
Although, the overall safety of a construction site is the ultimate responsibility of the general contractor who maintains the site safety plan and communicates its information to all of the subcontractors on site, every worker on the site is responsible for safety. It’s every worker’s responsibility to know and follow the site safety plan, practice good housekeeping, follow recommended work practices, and promptly report and/or correct hazards at the worksite.
Prevent slips, trips, and falls:
If you see a mess, take care of it. Pick up anything you see lying around that could create a hazard.
If you find someone’s tools or equipment laying around, move them out of the way. Put them somewhere safe, but visible if possible.
Immediately clear scrap and debris from walkways (areas of foot and equipment traffic, etc.)
Try to keep storage areas and walkways free of holes, ruts, and obstructions.
Immediately clean up spills (if substance is hazardous, notify supervisor immediately).
- Coil up extension cords, lines, hoses, etc. when not in use.
Safety exposures include:
- Nails protruding from surfaces – Remove or bend down nails before discarding scrap material.
- Combustible debris and materials – Dispose of them in the proper containers.
- Protruding objects – i.e., make sure exposed rebar is capped.
Specific OSHA Construction Safety Orders:
During the course of construction, form and scrap lumber with protruding nails and all other debris shall be kept reasonably cleared from work areas.
The ground area within 6 feet of a building under construction shall be reasonably free from irregularities.
Open ditches shall be bridged to provide passageways at convenient locations.
Material storage areas and walkways on the construction site shall be maintained reasonably free of dangerous depressions, obstructions, and debris.
Flammable or hazardous wastes must be placed in covered containers separate from normal debris.
All waste must be disposed of at intervals determined by the rate of accumulation and capacity of job site containers.
Good housekeeping habits include:
- 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.
Keep it clean…a place for everything…everything in its place!!
Download flyer: SMOTW_515_Housekeeping – Construction Sites.pdf (598.03 kb)
Download Spanish flyer: SMOTW_515_Housekeeping – Construction Sites_esp.pdf (598.99 kb)