Occupational Safety: Housekeeping is not a dirty word

3/1/2007 8:00:00 AM

When paper is left on the floor or boxes are stacked in a walk area, these normally harmless items can create a safety hazard. Housekeeping is vital to maintaining a safe work area, whether it is in an office, laboratory or workshop, yet basic housekeeping practices are often overlooked and cause many accidents. Housekeeping should be an ongoing activity not left until the end of the day or only for the custodial crew. Employees can take steps every day to keep their area clean and prevent larger housekeeping problems from developing. Every department has its own safety needs, but keeping areas picked-up and uncluttered applies to all departments. Here are some housekeeping tips that will help you keep your work area safe:

  • Immediately clean up anything on the floor that creates a slip hazard: water, grease, paper, dust or other debris. (Get assistance if needed or required.)
  • Keep walkways clear of boxes and other obstructions.
  • Close cabinets used for storage when not in use.
  • Never block fire exits or fire equipment.
  • Make sure stacked materials do not impede vision.
  • Don't store items in or on electrical panels or control boxes.
  • Pick up and store tools in their proper location immediately after use.
  • Keep ventilation systems clear of dust and debris and stored materials.
  • Make sure receptacles for waste and debris are conveniently located.
  • Remove combustible waste often to minimize the fire hazard.
  • Set a good example for other employees by maintaining good housekeeping in your work area.

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