11 Tips to Keep Your San Dimas Business Clean & Safe
To some people, the word “housekeeping” calls to mind cleaning floors and surfaces, removing dust, and organizing clutter.
But in a work setting, it means much more. Housekeeping is crucial to safe workplaces. It can help prevent injuries and improve productivity and morale, as well as make a good first impression on visitors. It also can help an employer avoid potential fines for non-compliance.
Workplace safety programs should incorporate housekeeping, and every worker should play a part. In addition, housekeeping should have management’s commitment so workers realize its importance. Here are 11 tips for effective workplace housekeeping.
1. Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls
Slips, trips and falls were the second leading cause of nonfatal occupational injuries or illnesses involving days away from work in 2013, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ways to help prevent slip, trip and fall incidents:
- Report and clean up spills and leaks.
- Keep aisles and exits clear of items.
- Consider installing mirrors and warning signs to help with blind spots.
- Replace worn, ripped or damage flooring.
- Consider installing anti-slip flooring in areas that can’t always be cleaned.
- Use drip pans and guards.
2. Eliminate Fire Hazards
Employees should keep unnecessary combustible materials from accumulating in the work area. Combustible waste should be stored in covered metal receptacles and disposed of daily.
Ways to prevent fire hazards:
- Keep combustible materials in the work area only in amounts needed for the job. When they are unneeded, move them to an assigned safe storage area.
- Store quick-burning, flammable materials in designated locations away from ignition sources.
- Avoid contaminating clothes with flammable liquids. Change clothes if contamination occurs.
- Keep passageways and fire doors free of obstructions. Stairwell doors should be kept closed. Do not store items in stairwells.
- Keep materials at least 18 inches away from automatic sprinklers, fire extinguishers and sprinkler controls.
- Hazards in electrical areas should be reported, and work orders should be issued to fix them.
3. Control Dust
Dust accumulation of more than 1/32 of an inch – or 0.8 millimeters – covering at least 5 percent of a room’s surface poses a significant explosion hazard, according to the Quincy, MA-based National Fire Protection Association. This dust accumulation is about as thick as a dime or paper clip.
Methods of cleaning include vacuuming, sweeping, and water wash-down. Ensure you are using wet methods or a high- efficiency vacuum system as using a shop vac or compressed air to blow it will only redistribute the dust.
4. Avoid Tracking Materials
Work-area mats – which can be cloth or sticky-topped – should be kept clean and maintained to help prevent the spread of hazardous materials to other work areas. Separate cleaning protocols may be needed for different areas to prevent cross-contamination. Avoid using the same mop to clean both an oily spill and in another area, for example.
5. Prevent falling objects
Protections such as a toe board, toe rail or net can help prevent objects from falling and hitting workers or equipment.
Other tips include stacking boxes and materials straight up and down to keep them from falling.
Place heavy objects on lower shelves, and keep equipment away from the edges of desks and tables. Also, refrain from stacking objects in areas where workers walk, including aisles.
Keep layout in mind so workers are not exposed to hazards as they walk through areas.
6. Clear Clutter
When an area is cluttered, you’re going to likely have a cut or laceration injury. You’re not going to have as much room to set up your workstation like you should and move around. You’re going to be twisting your body rather than moving your whole body.
Workers should return tools and other materials to storage after using them, and dispose of materials that are no longer needed.
Keep aisles, stairways, emergency exits, electrical panels and doors clear of clutter, and purge untidy areas. Empty trash receptacles before they overflow.
7. Store Materials Properly
Storage areas should not have an accumulation of materials that present hazards for tripping, fire, explosion or pests. Unused materials and equipment should be stored out of the way of workers and you should avoid using workspaces for storage. Everything should be returned to its proper place after it is done being used.
8. Use and inspect personal protective equipment and tools
Wear basic PPE – such as closed-toe shoes and safety glasses – while performing housekeeping. Tools should be regularly inspected, cleaned, and fixed and any damaged tools should be removed from the work area.
9. Determine Frequency
All workers should participate in housekeeping, especially in terms of keeping their own work areas tidy, reporting safety hazards and cleaning up spills, if possible.
Before the end of a shift, workers should inspect and clean their workspaces and remove unused materials. This dedication can reduce time spent cleaning later.
10. Create written rules
Experts agree that housekeeping policies should be put in writing that way they are formal and defined. Written protocols could specify which cleaners, tools and methods should be used.
11. Think long-term
Keep records, maintain a regular walkthrough inspection schedule, report hazards and train employees to help sustain housekeeping. Set goals and expectations, and base auditing on those goals.