It may seem like common sense: Keeping your workplace clean and clutter-free will yield fewer illnesses and injuries for employees. But poor housekeeping practices are among the most common worksite safety violations seen by
NSC consultants in the field.
It's not just industrial sites. All work sites, including office spaces, will be safer if employees follow good housekeeping procedures.
Common Workplace Hazards
According to OSHA, safe work environments lead to healthier workers, higher morale and increased productivity. So, what should you be looking for to reduce exposure to hazardous conditions in your workplace?
While hazards will vary based on the environment and type of business, here are some common causes of injury you can start to look for immediately in your workplace:
- Blocked emergency exits
- Clutter on floors, creating a tripping hazard
- Improperly stored hazardous materials
- Dust buildup
- Items stacked too high
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that slips, trips and falls account for about 15% of all workplace deaths – second only to motor vehicle crashes. Good housekeeping practices go a long way to reducing these risks.
Set up a Housekeeping Program
According to OSHA, housekeeping practices are among the easiest and most visible safety measures to implement in the workplace. In other words, routine and regular housekeeping should not break the bank nor cause undue stress on workers.
It all begins with worker training; employees need to know the significance of housekeeping, safe work practices and hazard reporting. Then, develop a schedule for routine maintenance and housekeeping, and assign those responsibilities to employees.
OSHA offers more information on setting up a housekeeping program.
OSHA's National Safety Stand-down is May 8-12
Fatalities caused from elevation are a leading cause of death for construction workers. OSHA and NSC ask employers to take a few minutes during the annual Fall Safety Stand Down to talk to your workers about safety when working from heights. You don't have to be in the construction industry to participate; falls can happen in all industries.
Bring Safety Home
Most deaths from unintentional injury don't occur in the workplace.
They happen at home.
The first step is learning to become more aware of your surroundings. We all can take more responsibility for the safety and well-being of ourselves, our co-workers and our loved ones.