The Importance of Housekeeping Safety
When we think about workplace safety, housekeeping is rarely top of mind. The fact is, that more than half of workplace safety incidents occur due to wet floors, cluttered storage areas, and improperly stored equipment and materials. In other words, poor housekeeping.
A clean worksite is one indicator that workers are committed to safe practices and follow protocols that prevent injuries and increase productivity. Worksites that clearly tend to their housekeeping are safer and ensure high morale amongst the team.
These are the workplaces where cleanliness is key and things are regularly kept tidy and organized. You can feel the difference between businesses with safe housekeeping practices and those without the moment you walk through the door. Those who make housekeeping a top priority have a much easier time passing health and safety inspections, as they typically have much fewer hazards identified and the need for corrective action is sporadic.
No business is exempt from the need for effective and safe housekeeping practices. Every workplace must follow proper housekeeping techniques in order to keep their employees and customers safe from injuries.
Dangers of Neglecting Workplace Housekeeping
When you practice good housekeeping, you are creating a pleasant environment that is safe for all. Businesses that don’t focus on housekeeping as a non-negotiable safety practice tend to have higher injuries and accidents. These workplaces have lower production and lower quality of work as people struggle to function around messes and out-of-place materials.
When housekeeping is neglected there are a number of safety and production issues, including:
Objects not in their place can cause multiple types of accidents.
Risk of fire or other dangerous incidents.
Workers use the wrong tools when appropriate ones cannot be located, leading to injury.
Quality of work declines.
Accident investigations become commonplace.
OSHA inspections are long, detailed, and difficult to pass.
Safe Housekeeping Tips for the Workplace
As you can see, keeping the workplace clean, organized, and functioning smoothly is essential for a successful business. It’s not enough to simply deep clean every so often. Instead, you need to develop consistent and intentional housekeeping practices that involve your entire team.
Here are some tips you can follow to implement effective housekeeping practices for your organization:
Make Slip and Fall Prevention a Top Priority
The majority of accidents in the workplace are slips, trips, and falls. Most of these incidents can be avoided by keeping orderly hallways, storage rooms, and production areas, as well as by ensuring that floors are always clean, dry, and slip-proof coverings are in place when applicable.
To fall-proof your workplace, implement practices that include reporting spills and defective flooring or mats immediately. Keep all floors clean, dry, and free of debris. Train all employees to do their part in the organization and the arrangement of items and mats so that anything out of place or hazardous is taken care of instantly.
When everyone does their part in housekeeping, accidents will be reduced.
Ensure No Fire Hazards
Poor housekeeping can cause fire hazards. This includes the proper storage and disposal of combustible materials and waste.
You can implement fire hazard reduction practices by performing a risk assessment and removing any discovered issues. Make sure that flammable substances and ignition sources are stored apart safely and that housekeeping practices eliminate the potential build-up of materials. Develop fire safety practices that teach your team how to identify and report fire hazards and fires. Make sure that all fire exits are clear and free for an easy escape if needed.
Focus on Falling Object Prevention
Another safety issue stems from improperly stored objects. These objects can easily fall off shelves, hitting people who are underneath or landing in a path and creating a tripping hazard.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent objects from falling, such as using toe boards, toe rails, and nets. You will also want to refrain from stacking materials and boxes too high or straight up and down, as these can easily become top-heavy or have the weight unevenly distributed, causing a fall. Any heavy objects should be kept low and all equipment should be stored away from the edge of shelves, tables, and desks.
By ensuring that all materials are organized and properly stored, you can prevent the majority of accidents in the workplace. By keeping your location clean, you can remove any potential fire and injury hazards, as well as ensure a pleasant environment for all.
Not only are you able to prepare your business for health and safety inspections, you can also reduce accidents and increase the productivity of your business. Great housekeeping practices help to ensure your continued success and workplace safety.