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7 Tips for Effective Workplace Housekeeping

When the word housekeeping is mentioned, most people will associate it with housework like cleaning, dusting and decluttering. However, in a professional environment housekeeping is a crucial factor for providing a safe workplace. Good housekeeping can prevent injuries and improve productivity, as well as the morale of the workers. Additionally, the well-maintained workplace will make a valuable impact on guests.

Bear in mind that the manufacturing industry is a comprehensive term that includes a lot of different fields and companies, with different operational practices and safety risks. Regardless of all these differences, every manufacturing business has common risks and hazards they are trying to solve in order to prevent workplace incidents. That’s why every workplace security program should include housekeeping, and all workers should participate in. The importance of good maintenance of a workplace cannot be overstated. With that said, we prepared you several tips for effective workplace housekeeping.

Fire

The responsibility for keeping extraneous inflammable materials from gathering in the work area is on employees. All flammable waste should be stored in covered metal vessels and disposed on a daily basis. In order to prevent fire, every combustible material in the work area should be kept only in amounts needed for the job. The moment you don’t need them anymore, you should move them to a designated safe accommodation area. 

This might sound trivial but you should also keep highly flammable materials away from ignition sources. Also, try to avoid spilling flammable liquids on your clothes. If it happens, change your clothes immediately. 

Concerning the fire exits, passageways and fire doors should be free of obstructions, as well as the stairwell. For the optimal work of the fire extinguishing system, you should keep materials at least 50 cm away from any extinguishing device (70-100 cm is optimal). The distance between piled-up material and the ceiling should be at least 1 meter unless the stock is filed more than 5 meters high, in which case the distance should be doubled. 

Finally, any malfunction in electrical operations should be notified and fixed as soon as possible.

Dust

Dust is not only dangerous because of breathing hazard, but also explosive. If dust accumulates in more than a 0.8-millimetre layer and covers at least 5% of a room’s surface it might cause the explosion. That’s about as thick as a coin or a paperclip. If air quality and dust are our concerns, the workplace should be inspected by an industrial hygienist. The standard preferred cleaning methods for dust is vacuuming, followed by sweeping and water washing. For inaccessible or unsafe services the recommended method is blowdown using compressed air or steam. Industrial-strength vacuum cleaners can clean most of inaccessible places. Vacuuming and wet-based cleanups are preferred methods compared to using compressed air to blow the dust away. That’s because blowing away the dust just distribute it all over.

Track & Topple

To avoid tracking materials make sure that work area maths are kept clean and well maintained. That way you will prevent workers from spreading dangerous substances to other work sectors or even home. For the war in order to prevent cross-contamination, separate cleaning protocols should be enforced. For example, you shouldn’t use the same cleaning tool to clean the spill of oil in one area and dust in another. The rules should be even more strict if the materials you’re working with are toxic. Industrial hygiene testing, uniforms, and showering facilities are required. Also, workers operating toxic materials shouldn’t wear their work clothes at home.

Concerning the prevention of falling objects, protective equipment such as toe boards, toe rails, and safety nets can prevent objects from falling and smashing into workers or equipment. You can also stack boxes and materials straight up and down so they don’t fall down. The heavy object should go on lower shelves and equipment should be kept away from the edges of desks and tables. Mind the areas where workers walk and avoid stacking objects there.

Falls

Falls caused by slips and trips were the second leading cause of non-fatal business injuries, especially in the construction sector. There’s also a predominance of fall-related injuries in the workplace in the manufacturing industry. Falls take a top 3 spot among causes for death, injury, or time off. Without any doubt, falls are one of the biggest occupational hazards in any industry.

In order to prevent falls and injuries of your workers, places should be kept clean and orderly, and in the sanitary condition, including passageways, and service rooms. Furthermore, the floor should be clean and dry and areas, where processes are used, should include drainage. 

When choosing the floor for their facilities, employers should select appropriate material depending on the working conditions and the type of work since different types of floors hold up better under certain conditions. The concrete or ceramic floor surface could be covered with anti-slip rubber floor tiles, as additional prevention from tripping hazard. 

It is also important to use appropriate cleaners in order to implement housekeeping procedures. If you don’t use the proper manner of cleansing etiquettes you’ll just scatter a slippery area around. Oils and grease, for example, are notoriously hard to clean up, and they’re also very slippery. In order to prevent slip, trip, and fall incidents, or spills and leaks to reported and cleaned, aisles and exits should be kept clear of items, worn out, and ripped or damaged flooring should be fixed or replaced with anti-slip materials in areas that can’t be cleaned regularly. Additionally, employers should consider installing mirrors in warning signs and make sure that the workplace is free of protruding nails, chips, gaps, and wobbly planks.

Clutter

There are numerous ergonomics issues and possibilities for injury in a cluttered workspace. While working in such an environment workers will likely have a cut or laceration. Also, they won’t have freedom of movement and won’t be able to set your workstation up like they’re supposed to. Cluttered workspace limits workers’ movement and efficiency, and could have serious consequences. In order to avoid that, it is recommendable for workers to return instruments and other materials to storehouse after they finished using them, and dispose of materials that are no longer needed. Every important pathway should be cleared of clutter, and trash containers should be emptied before they overflow.

Improper Storage

The storage areas shouldn’t accumulate materials that are prone to fire, explosion, pests or present a tripping hazard. A frequent mistake is also storing ladders and other metal equipment inside the electrical cabinets, which creates blocks in the circuit and consequential fire hazard. Materials and equipment that are not used should be stored away from the employees. Interesting enough, storage rules are similar to the kindergarten rules about toys. When you’re done working with your tools you should put them away way back where you took them from. Keeping a storage space nearby will motivate workers to use it. Thus, the responsibility is both on the employer and employee to keep the workplace safe and clear.

Equipment, Frequency, and Rules

Employees should always wear basic personal protective equipment (PPE) while performing housekeeping in order to avoid potential risks. There are many compensation cases based on employees not wearing PPE and getting hurt in various ways. The equipment and tools should be inspected regularly and damaged units should be removed. Housekeeping is the responsibility of every worker, as they need to report any problem they came upon. Also, near the end of their shift, employees review and clean their workspaces. The frequency of housekeeping is determined by the amount of debris and waste the workplace releases on a regular basis. The efficient way to implement the housekeeping policies is to put them in writing. Having formal and defined workplace housekeeping protocols makes keeping the workplace clean easier for both employers and employees.

Conclusion

The proper implementation of manufacturing safety policies protects your employees from various occupational hazards. Housekeeping is necessary for workplace safety and productivity. Despite the differences between manufacturing industries, safety hazards are similar. Addressing the potentially dangerous situations increases the workplace safety coefficient and provides a better working environment for employees. Therefore, workplace housekeeping is one of the most important determinants in the industry in general.

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