Good housekeeping is not merely the cleanliness of the house or work area. It includes keeping work areas neat and orderly; maintaining walkways and floors free of slip and trip hazards; and removing of waste materials (e.g. paper, waste oil/chemicals/lubricants) and other fire hazards from work areas. It also requires paying attention to important details such as the layout of the whole workplace, aisle marking, the adequacy of storage facilities, and maintenance.
Effective housekeeping can eliminate some workplace hazards and help get a job done safely and properly. Poor housekeeping can frequently contribute to accidents by hiding hazards that cause injuries. If the sight of paper, debris, clutter and spills is accepted as normal, then other more serious health and safety hazards may be taken for granted.
The following tips on good housekeeping can be applied in the office or at home and can be shared with family and friends to ensure we prevent all accidents associated with poor housekeeping practise:
· Have a place for everything: Resist the urge to pile things up, have a defined place for keeping things so it would be easier to find them when needed.
· Clean as you go: Develop a routine for cleaning up your work area during the day and at the end of the day so there is no piling up.
· Put things away when you’re done with them: If dismantling anything, stack parts away neatly in their assigned location so they do not could cause obstruction or become a trip hazard.
· Get everyone involved: Whether your co-cleaners are your hubby and kids (no matter the age), housemates or your office mates, encourage everyone to help out with the cleaning and organizing. Setting standards and allowing everyone to participate can go a long way in keeping the environment clean.
· Create storage solutions: Open bins and baskets are perfect storage solutions for some but for others, closets and cabinets with hidden elaborate storage systems work best. Consider what you’re most likely to use and incorporate it.
· Never go to bed or leave the home with dishes in the sink. Make a commitment to making your bed at the start of each day, ensure toilets and bathrooms are always in top-notch conditions then cleaning your sink at the end of it. Toilets and sinks are major focal points for disease causing pathogens and when they’re clean what’s around them looks cleaner and healthier.
· Make cleaning an easy routine: Make cleaning a part of your routine. Incorporate cleaning activities such as clearing your desk of papers at the end of each day and other household chores into your daily routine. Develop a cleaning schedule if possible.
· All rubbish should be placed in tidy bins or skips to be removed: In this way, should a fire occur, it is confined to a small area and dealt with quickly and efficiently, thus preventing the fire spread.
· Tag out tools and equipment for maintenance: If tools get damaged, get them repaired or replaced and label as required. Do not leave them lying around to cause hazards.
· Put away all work clothes after tasks: When work is completed, put personal protective equipments and other gear in lockers provided, don’t just leave things about hoping they’ll be there when you return.
· If you notice rubbish piling up which you cannot remove, bring this to the attention of the responsible party who will make arrangements to have it removed.
· When working at a height above 1.8 meters and you notice loose objects on boards or walkways, put them somewhere where they cannot be dislodged. They could fall and injure someone.
· Do not leave used coffee cup and dirty food containers around workstation or living rooms; take back to the kitchen where it can be washed.
· Segregate waste: Put waste such as plastics, paper or metals in separate bins or collection bags so they can be reused or recycled accordingly. Household or domestic waste should be collected and disposed separately.
· Secure all cables and cords around your work area or home with a duct tape along the wall so they don’t pose trip hazard.
· Remember, a clean work area is a productive work area.
Effective housekeeping is an ongoing operation for a good housekeeping practice plays a vital role in accident prevention. Adopting a continuous housekeeping habit can prevent up to 33% of accidents by ensuring everything is in its place and there is a place for everything. The best habit to adopt as a culture is “clean as you go” then you will be able to live a healthier life a d be safe at all times around the home or work environment.
Written by O’ Reese of En-pact Solutions Limited, 2013
Twitter: @O Reese2