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Workplace Housekeeping - how to minimise injuries

Workplace Housekeeping

When we think of housekeeping, we think vacuuming, mopping, dusting and polishing surfaces.  Workplace housekeeping is well beyond this and is a mandatory factor in workplace safety. 

Ensuring your workplace incorporates housekeeping into everyday life, can prevent injuries, improve productivity and morale, minimise risk of potential fines and challenges of non-compliance and makes a really good first impression on any visitors including customers to your site.

It is everyone’s responsibility to incorporate housekeeping and by implementing detailed safety programs and demonstrating management’s commitment, it will quickly become second nature to all.

Common hazards identified in workplaces varying from office buildings, warehouses, factories, and manufacturing plants include:-

Slips, Trips and Falls

Tips for the prevention of slips, trips and falls may include:-

  • Keeping all walkways and pedestrian access ways clear and free from clutter and debris
  • Clean up any/all spills, regardless of who caused it
  • Ensure correct protocols are followed when cleaning up hazardous spills
  • Ensure flooring is adequate and undamaged
  • Replace/repair any damaged flooring
  • Do not store items in stairwells
  • Use signage to notify of wet areas/no access areas
  • Use mirrors for blind spots
  • Use anti slip flooring where required
  • Use adequate lighting

Fire Hazards

  • Combustible materials should only be kept in the work area in amounts required for the job
  • When not used, combustible materials are to be kept in an assigned safe storage area
  • Any flammable materials should be stored in designated areas away from any ignition source
  • Ensure fire doors are free from obstructions
  • Ensure fire extinguishers, hoses and sprinklers are free from obstructions
  • Ensure clothing contaminated with flammable liquids are changes immediately
  • Electrical hazards can be minimised by conducting electrical test and tagging and disposal of damaged electrical equipment

Falling Objects

  • Place heavy objects on lower shelves
  • Keep equipment away from the edge of desks and benches
  • Use appropriate equipment to ensure items are secure when stacked or shelved such as netting, cages etc
  • Ensure items are not over stacked
  • Replace damaged/broken pallets

Clutter

  • Minimise clutter where possible
  • Return tools, equipment and files to appropriate storage when not in use
  • Ensure work areas have as much moving space as possible to minimise the need to twist
  • Empty rubbish bins and other trash receptacles prior to them overflowing

Every worker has a responsibility to participate in workplace housekeeping by keeping their work areas tidy, storing materials appropriately, cleaning any spills that may occur and reporting any safety hazards immediately.

Employers can adopt appropriate written policies and procedures and regularly train employees to enable their assistance with workplace housekeeping and reporting of hazards.

 

If you require advice or assistance with understanding your obligations in relation to workplace housekeeping and safety in the workplace,  or should you require support regarding any HR matter, please contact the team at HR Advice Online at [email protected] or on 1300 720 004.

Information in HR Advice Online guides and blog posts is meant purely for educational discussion of human resources issues. It contains only general information about human resources matters and due to factors, such as government legislation changes, may not be up to date at the time of reading. It is not legal advice and should not be treated as such.

 

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