Housekeeping as a Priority
Housekeeping is the number one problem on construction sites. Many accidents and near misses occur as a result of poor housekeeping. Efficiency and morale at the worksite can be greatly improved if positive attitude and proper care is taken and attitudes towards housekeeping.
Housekeeping is not just cleaning up garbage and building materials. Good housekeeping provides a sound basis on which to strengthen overall safety practices at your work location. Make it your priority.
Take the initiative. Start the safety game off on the right foot. Good housekeeping reduces the chances for slips, trips, and more serious accidents. We're all in this together - all of us can show we care by setting a good example.
Setting the Example
Everyone needs to set the best example. Anyone in the industry can tell you about the bad examples, injuries to friends, lost time, and poor working conditions. You can help to set it right.
Setting it right includes watching out for poor housekeeping. The WCB fields thousands of claims each year for trips, falls, and other related accidents. Watch out for telltale signs of a poorly kept worksite. This will save a lot of time, money, and maybe someone's life.
Examples of poor housekeeping are numerous:
Tools not properly stored are more easily damaged
Time is wasted cleaning up or looking for items lost in the mess
Garbage areas attract rodents and insects and can create health hazards with high levels of bacteria
Emergency exits and access to fire extinguishers can be blocked
Sharp objects, wires, greases, scrap materials, and lumber with protruding nails are among the typical workplace hazards
Fire safety is reduced with improper storage of materials
Housekeeping the Right Way
Housekeeping done poorly is done wrong. Do it right the first time and get help when needed. There are many things we can do to make housekeeping easier and the jobsite safer:
Set a special time for general cleanup
Do it at the same time every day - probably at the end of the shift
Immediately clean up situations that pose a hazard - things like oil spills, water, sharp objects, and grease
Always "clean as you go". Hazards will be reduced and major cleanups avoided. Keep your area free from tripping hazards.
Talk to the other workers and subtrades - have everyone take responsibility for their part of the housekeeping - there can be safety in numbers!
Storage procedures are crucial. The expression "a place for everything and everything in its place" really works
Never continue to work where housekeeping has become a hazard - a tragic accident is almost certain
Ensure someone is responsible for regular housekeeping inspections and has the authority to order a cleanup and a cleaning routine
Home, Clean, Home
Housekeeping doesn't have to be a drag. At home or on the job, a little teamwork goes a long way.
Common household accidents can be prevented if housekeeping and chores are done regularly. Why is it that we often let our home workshops, garages, or tool sheds get into a condition we would never tolerate at work?
Let your family know that cleaning up "as you go" means there are fewer BIG jobs in the end.
At work it is easier to start your shift if the work area is clean. The same goes for all of you at home. Husband, wife, and children all appreciate it when the house is clean.
Sometimes tragic accidents will be less likely if you all follow a basic safety rule good housekeeping.
Making the Safety Team
Making your personal contribution to housekeeping is one of the best things you can do on the job site. A "team" player attitude is respected. If you're looking out for others, they're looking out for you.
For more information, refer to current applicable Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.