Good Housekeeping Improves Workplace Safety
A recent article by Sarah Trotto (http://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles) states “Housekeeping is crucial to safe workplaces”. Using advice from OSHA, the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and Liberty Mutual, Trotter list 11 tips for effective housekeeping in offices, factories and warehouses.
- Prevent slips, trips and falls. These are the second leading cause of non-fatal lost time injuries. Clean and dry floors, clear aisles and replacing damaged flooring will eliminate hazards.
- Eliminate fire hazards. Limit combustible materials in work spaces. Store them in designated areas when not in use. Keep passageways and fire doors free of obstructions. Keep materials at least 18 inches (24-36 inches recommended) from automatic sprinklers, fire extinguishers and sprinkler controls. There should be at least 3 feet between piled material and the ceiling.
- Control dust – accumulation of 1/32 of an inch (as thick as a dime or paper clip) is an explosion hazard. Vacuums should remove dust, not redistribute it.
- Avoid tracking hazardous materials into other work areas or homes. Use proper cleaning methods. Employees working with toxic materials should remove work clothes after their shift.
- Prevent falling objects. Stack boxes and materials straight up and down. Place heavy objects on lower shelves. Keep equipment away from edges of desks and tables. Don’t stack objects in aisles.
- Eliminate clutter. Keep aisles, stairways, emergency exits, electrical panels and doors clear. Empty trash regularly.
- Store materials properly. Storage areas should not present tripping, fire, explosion or pest hazards. Don’t store items inside electrical closets. Storage areas should be close to, but not within work spaces.
- Use personal protective equipment and tools. Inspect and clean them regularly.
- Make workers responsible for clean and tidy work areas and reporting safety hazards.
- Put housekeeping rules in writing.
- Inspect and monitor workplaces on a regular basis, keep records and train employees in safe practices.