Workplace Housekeeping

Housekeeping in the workplace is a critical safety issueit’s even regulated:

  • All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms shall be kept clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition (to the extent the work allows).
  • The floor of every workroom shall be maintained in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition. Where wet processes are used, drainage shall be maintained, and false floors, platforms, mats, or other dry standing places should be provided where practicable (waterproof footgear shall be provided).
  • To facilitate cleaning, every floor, working place, and passageway shall be kept free from protruding nails, splinters, (unnecessary) holes (and openings), or loose boards.
  • Storage areas shall be kept free from accumulation of materials that constitute hazards from tripping, fire, explosion or pest harborage.
  • In fiscal year 2011, OSHA issued $2.34 million in proposed housekeeping penalties.*

Benefits of good housekeeping:

  • Reduces hazards (Trip / Fall, Strike Against, Puncture / Cut, Fire, Chemical).
  • Enables you to find what you’re looking for.
  • Leads to efficient production and higher quality.
  • Facilitates safe and timely evacuation during emergencies.
  • Enables safe and timely emergency responses.

Good housekeeping practices:

  • All tools, equipment, and materials should have a specific storage space.
  • Get rid of what you don’t use or need.
  • Store items when done with them, not afterwards.
  • Store items properly, not sticking out of drawers or into aisles or work areas.
  • Set up storage location(s) based on frequency of use.
  • Don’t run or leave items on the floorcords, cables, air hoses, debris.
  • Close cabinet or storage drawers and doors.
  • Use oily waste containers and empty daily.
  • Remove any unused or unnecessary chemicals from the facility.
  • Keep exits, electrical panels, and fire extinguishing equipment clear.
  • Minimize or keep food and drinks off of the production floor.
  • Develop a facility-cleaning schedule, especially accumulated dusts.
  • Develop accountability and make housekeeping part of one’s job performance.
  • Inspect regularly and report hazards.
  • Take action when hazards are identified – Don’t walk on by.

Additional information and guidance:

* National Safety Council