Proper housekeeping is vital to maintaining a safe work environment and following a few simple tips can help prevent workplace accidents. While existing OSHA standards do increase workplace safety, more work is necessary to keep employees safe. Employers and employees still need to be vigilant with their housekeeping practices in the workplace.
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Housekeeping is Not Just for the Home
At home, the word housekeeping refers to keeping floors and surfaces clean and minimizing and organizing clutter. But in the workplace, good housekeeping practices make the workplace safer and improve employee productivity and morale. These practices should be ongoing, not just a one-time event.
Whether the location is an office or a manufacturing plant, proper housekeeping is needed to comply with OSHA workplace safety standards. The following housekeeping tips can help make the workplace safer for employees.
Keeping Walking and Working Surfaces Safe
Slips, falls and trips are the second leading cause of nonfatal workplace injuries according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To follow OSHA’s Walking-Working Surfaces Standard (1910.22(a)), all walkways, storage areas, and work areas should be kept clean and orderly. Housekeeping that helps to achieve this standard and prevent slips and falls include:
- Immediate reporting and cleaning up of any leaks or spills
- Replacing damaged, worn or ripped flooring materials
- Installing anti-slip flooring where needed
- Frequently inspecting the workplace for trip hazards like nails or loose boards
- Installing warning signs and mirrors to alert workers to blind spots
- Keeping exits and passageways clear
Reducing Clutter in Work Areas
Cluttered workplaces can lead to injuries because employees have less room to move. This could lead to ergonomic injuries along with an increased risk of cut or laceration injuries in work areas. Workers and companies can reduce injury risk by returning tools and materials to storage after use, disposing of materials that are not needed anymore, and purging cluttered areas of excess debris.
Maintaining a clean and clutter-free environment helps businesses and their workers prevent and reduce the number of injuries in the workplace. This helps improve worker productivity and decrease days off lost to injuries.