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Why should we bother with good workplace housekeeping?

Poor housekeeping can cause many accidents and incidents. To keep free from injury the workplace must be kept in good order at all times. Every employee is responsible for housekeeping. 

What can happen when a workplace has poor housekeeping?

Poor housekeeping can cause incidents such as:

  • Tripping over objects left lying on floors, stairs and platforms

  • Being struck by falling objects

  • Slipping over on wet, greasy or dirty surfaces

  • Injuries caused by walking into protruding items, poorly stacked items or materials in the wrong place.

How can hazards caused by poor housekeeping be avoided?

Workplaces must maintain order at all times. It is not the responsibility of single person. It requires a great deal of management and planning. Workplace housekeeping is an ongoing activity in which every member of the team does their part to ensure a clean, tidy and clutter-free work environment.

Why should I maintain housekeeping at work? 

Housekeeping can involve a lot of work, but there are many benefits, most of which help save you and your colleagues from injury or serious harm. Follow these simple tips to achieve proper housekeeping in your workplace:

  • Never leave rubbish or debris haphazardly around your work area. If rubbish and debris must accumulate, designate a predetermined disposal area and dispose of all trash, garbage, and hazards in the designated disposal area.

  • Clean up any spills or leaks immediately to eliminate any hazard of slip, or fall injuries.

  • Keep cables or trip hazards out of aisles or walkways.

  • Dispose of any unusable parts or material that may accumulate in you work area.

  • Remove boxes and other hazards from aisles, walkways, or stairways. Never lock or block exits.

  • Watch out for accumulation of fire hazards such as greasy rags, chemicals, and electrical hazards.

  • Store and dispose of flammables or hazardous chemicals properly.

  • Never leave hazards exposed. If necessary provide barriers, signs, and warnings.

  • Ensure that all machine and equipment guards are in place, secure and in good working order.  These should be checked daily.

  • Keep storage areas clean and organized.

Effective housekeeeping is an ongoing operation. It shouldn't be carried out occasionally or ad-hoc. Periodic 'panic' clean ups can be costly and do not help reduce the numbers of incidents in the workplace. Maintaining good housekeeping can save time, money and help prevent injury to you and your fellow workers. 

How could I prevent a 'Slips' accident when the weather is colder than usual?

When temperatures drop below freezing, you should grit areas that are prone to icing over. This will help prevent ice from forming. Where possible, encourage diversion and alert employees to potentially hazardous areas. If you put signs out to alert people you should remove them when the ice has melted; if they are always there then others may get complacent and start to ignore them. 

What can cause a lack of grip between the floor and your shoe?

Liquid spills can create a barrier between the floor and your shoes, creating a possible slip hazard. Dropped foods can also cause the same hazard. 

What is the right footwear to wear at work?

The footwear you should wear to work can depend on your job. If your job states specific PPE or footwear requirements then you should follow them. If you are permitted to wear your own footwear, shoes should fit well and be appropriate. Always tie laces and remember that heels can cause hazards up staircases. Flip flops offer little to no protection to the toes and foot and can even cause trips themselves. 

What could be a trip hazard?

Trip hazards are objects that are blocking a walkway or doorway. Work areas should be kept tidy and you should think about where you place things such as rubbish bins, handbags, briefcases etc. Keep cupboard doors and drawers closed when not in use, especially at low levels that may not be in people's eye-line. Remember to always keep cables and leads tidy.

How can you try to prevent a fall?

If you are carrying out work where there is a possibility of a fall you should ensure you use the correct equipment (and know how to use it!) and do everything possible to prevent a fall. Equipment should not be a hazard in itself. Think about whether you need someone to help with the task. You should check if you have set up the task in a safe place. If you are working in a doorway or corridor make sure you provide the correct signage and information. 

Slips, Trips & Falls
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