Maintaining a clean workplace is as important as maintaining a clean home, especially if you want a safe work environment. Poor housekeeping at work can have severe consequences for safety. Injuries and even death can result from poor housekeeping, leading to OSHA citations. Safety is a shared responsibility. We can create a better working environment if we keep our area in order. Housekeeping is everyone’s responsibility.
- A good safety practice starts with good housekeeping. Here are some guidelines to help you maintain your shop:
- Spills should be cleaned up immediately.
- Make sure that walkways and stairs are free of tripping hazards.
- Oily rags should be stored in a metal container that is covered and emptied every evening.
- The shop machinery should be periodically cleaned of excess cutting oils and filings.
- All tools should be kept in their place, and tools that need repairs should be red-tagged.
- Wear proper PPE.
- Try to create a routine cleaning schedule.
- Maintain fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, first aid kits, and eye wash stations monthly.
- Regularly inspect all hand tools, portable power tools, and larger shop equipment. Develop a system for replacing items such as cords, guards, or other worn or damaged equipment, to ensure equipment is not scratched, scraped, etc…
- Ensure the shop is secure when nobody is in it. You should never leave a machine running unattended.
- Use lockout/tagout procedures properly by following all the necessary steps. Don’t cut corners to save time.
Poor housekeeping can be a cause of accidents, such as:
- Tripping over loose objects on floors, stairs, and platform
- Being hit by falling objects
- Slipping on greasy, wet, or dirty surfaces
- Striking against projecting, poorly stacked items, or misplaced material
- Cutting, puncturing, or tearing the skin of hands or other body parts on projecting nails, wire, or steel strapping.
- To avoid these hazards, a workplace must “maintain” order throughout the workday. Although this effort requires a great deal of management and planning, the benefits are many.