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Safety – housekeeping

Safety first should always be the mantra for any organization. An effective housekeeping program is as important
as any other safety program and provides a great culture for employees. To avoid injuries caused by poor
housekeeping practices, the workplace must be maintained in order throughout the day. Discuss with employees
how effective housekeeping procedures reduce the risk of accidents. Stress that housekeeping should not be a
one-time event but an ongoing process with repetition a key to success.

Regardless of what business operations occur at your organization, implementing a housekeeping plan has many
benefits, including:
• Fewer slips, trips and falls by removing clutter and slippery situations.
• Decreased fire hazards.
• Better control of tools and materials.
• Better hygienic conditions leading to improved health.
• Reduces property damage by improving preventive maintenance.
• More effective use of space.
• Improved morale and productivity.
• Visually appealing to employees, visitors and contractors.

There are a number of housekeeping programs available but there is no one size fits all. You will need to evaluate
each department and determine the most effective housekeeping program. When developing a housekeeping
program, consider these elements:

The maintenance of buildings and equipment is one of the important elements of good housekeeping.
Maintenance involves keeping buildings, equipment and machinery in safe, efficient working order and in good
repair. This also includes maintaining sanitary facilities, repairing broken windows, damaged doors, defective
plumbing and damaged surfaces that not only make a workplace look neglected but may pose a hazard. A
successful program includes procedures or processes, such as a work order system, to replace or repair broken or
damaged items as quickly as possible.

Ventilation Systems
Building ventilation and exhaust systems that fail to collect dust and dirt may pose a health hazard to employees if
not regularly serviced. Use a qualified, outside vender or adequately trained internal personnel to check filters and
filtration systems regularly for peak performance. Use suitable vacuum cleaners to remove light amounts of dust
and dirt or specially designed vacuums to remove heavier amounts or when hazardous materials or combustible
dust is present. Be sure to dispose of all waste materials properly. Finally, use dampening material, such as water
or sweeping compounds to reduce the amount of airborne dust before cleaning. Remember do not use
compressed air to remove dust and dirt. Ensure you wear all appropriate personal protective equipment as

Areas with poor or dirty lighting can pose slip, trip and fall hazards. Dirty light fixtures can decrease essential light
levels, so create a schedule to clean light fixtures and evaluate areas to improve lighting efficiency. Be sure to
evaluate areas of low light and determine the best way to improve visibility.

Spill Control
The best way to control spills is to stop them before they happen. Regular cleaning and maintaining machines and
equipment is one way. Another is to use drip pans and guards where possible spills might occur. If a spill does
occur, clean it up immediately. Always have absorbent materials available for wiping up greasy, oily or other liquid
spills. Depending upon the spilled material, dispose of it safely and by company policy. Finally, ensure all
appropriate PPE is used during spill cleanup.

Waste Disposal
The regular collection of waste contributes to good housekeeping practices. Waste materials should not be
allowed to accumulate to excess. An effective housekeeping program makes it possible to separate materials that
can be recycled from those going to waste disposal facilities. Work with your disposal company to determine
which products can be recycled and be sure to train employees. Place waste and recycling containers near waste
producing areas to encourage proper segregation.

Many organizations deal with space issues, so it is essential to develop an organized program for storing materials
in each department. Evaluate each area with staff to establish the best and most efficient way to store materials
and minimize interference with work practices. Incorporate a program that is not only efficient but will also
minimize employee reaching and bending. When stacking material, be sure it is placed on a firm surface and stack
securely to prevent tip over. Never obstruct aisles, stairs, exits, electrical cabinets, fire equipment, emergency
eyewash stations, deluge showers or first aid cabinets.

Workplace housekeeping is not just visually appealing but a fundamental aspect of encouraging a safe, efficient
and positive work environment. By prioritizing cleanliness and implementing effective housekeeping practices,
organizations can contribute to the well-being and success of their employees and the overall success of the
organization. For an effective housekeeping program, take the time to develop and review with staff. Getting
employee support for a good housekeeping program will ultimately increase employee morale, productivity and an
overall safe workplace.

If you have questions or need further assistance in developing a workplace housekeeping program,
please reach out to Andy Sawan, Risk Services Specialist, with Sedgwick at or by phone at 330.819.4728.


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