Special Topics in Safety Management

Workplace Housekeeping: Don’t Sweep It Under the Rug!

Housekeeping is a task that often takes a back seat to other jobs that seem more pressing and important. But good housekeeping is important, too. It helps ensure a safer workplace.

Remember the old saying, "A place for everything and everything in its place"?

Well, there’s a lot of truth to that dictum, especially at work where an effective housekeeping program can make a big difference in preventing accidents, fires, and occupational diseases.

Good housekeeping provides other benefits as well. It:

  • Encourages efficiency
  • Makes better use of space
  • Keeps inventory at a minimum
  • Helps control property damage
  • Provides a good appearance of your facility and impresses the customer
  • Reflects a well-run organization
  • Encourages better work habits
  • Minimizes janitorial work
  • Makes jobs easier and working conditions more pleasant

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On the other hand, here is what you can expect to find in a dirty and disorganized workplace:

  • Cluttered and poorly arranged areas
  • Untidy piling of materials
  • Items stored that are no longer needed
  • Blocked aisles, stairways, and exits
  • Materials stuffed in corners and out-of-the-way places
  • Materials gathering rust and dirt from nonuse
  • Overcrowded storage areas and shelves
  • Overflowing bins and containers
  • Broken containers and damaged materials
  • Combustible materials stored near sources of ignition

Tackle housekeeping chores by assigning different areas of responsibility to supervisors and workers and holding them accountable for safe housekeeping in those areas. Use a housekeeping checklist to help them remember requirements and to help you evaluate each unit for cleanliness, order, and safety. Be creative about encouraging employees to keep up on housekeeping tasks rather than "sweeping them under the rug."

The result will be employees who are proud of their jobs, their workplace, and the product they produce. The benefits will be higher production and better products at a lower cost.


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Need More Information?

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If you like what you see, you’re invited to try the site at no cost and with no obligation. We’ll even give you a complimentary special report for doing so. Go here to take a 5-minute tour of Safety.BLR.com. It may be just what you’re looking for.