Failure to maintain high housekeeping standards in such an environment may result in injury or illness, lost productivity and a negative impact to the bottom line. Housekeeping is a critical step on the path to safety.
Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, often referred to as the General Duty Clause, requires employers to “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” Section 1910.22(a)(1) states “All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms shall be kept clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.” Taken together, these two regulations require that employers regularly inspect the workplace for hazards, correct hazards in a timely manner and institute a housekeeping program to mitigate hazards. This housekeeping program must include training in the essential aspects of the program, supply of the necessary items to implement the program and supervision to ensure compliance. It is the responsibility of all employees within the organization to ensure that housekeeping standards are implemented by incorporating them as a part of their daily routine.
What are some of the basic areas that workplace housekeeping rules should address?
In order for the housekeeping program to be effective, management must commit to it, budget for all components, and require compliance from employees. Budgeting should include such line items as supplies and tools for cleaning, janitorial services for maintaining and supplying common areas, sufficient trash and storage receptacles, trash removal, routine and corrective maintenance and time for training of employees.
A Tool Box Talk to use with employees can be found at www.asa.net.
This eighth step on the path to an effective safety program can positively impact your productivity, the health and well-being of your employees, and a better bottom line.
This article was written in conjunction with participants in the OSHA and ASA Alliance. It does not necessarily reflect the official views of OSHA or the U.S. Department of Labor.