Housekeeping is one of the most important practices for preventing slips, trips, and falls. Obstacles and clutter are major causes of trips, and floor wetness and contaminants are major causes of slips in general industry organizations. However, good housekeeping is also integral to ensuring a safe working environment in the construction industry. During the course of the workday, you might find yourself walking around or tripping over lumber, electrical cords, or tools in a previously clear area, making it difficult to work safely and efficiently. Housekeeping is not just a rainy-day task or a once-a-month chore but a job that just be done hour by hour.
- All walking surfaces must be free of irregularities, such as holes and depressions. Alert your supervisor about any floor damage immediately.
- Maintain flooring and walkways to be in clean, dry, and smooth condition.
- Do not allow floor covers or mats to bunch up or fold, creating a trip hazard.
- Wear slip-resistant footwear and post caution signs in damp areas.
General Housekeeping Rules:
- Store supplies away from walkways to prevent trips
- Put away tools and equipment when not in use.
- Never leave tools or other building materials on surfaces where they can fall on workers if accidentally bumped or otherwise disturbed
- Dispose of debris promptly.
- Keep aisles, stairways, and doorways unobstructed.
- Keep walkways and aisles clear.
- Keep cords neat and away from areas where people may step.
- Keep floors as clean and dry as possible.
- Minimize dust.
- Follow your organization’s cleaning guidelines.
- Store equipment and materials properly when not in use.
- Secure items so they will not fall.
- Keep storage areas clean and free of clutter.
- Clean spills promptly (or report them, if applicable).
- If chemical spills are possible, know how to respond and where the appropriate SDSs are.
- Know where wet floor signs are located and use them to warn others of spills. Remove them once the spill is cleaned.
- Use signs, tape, and other barriers to establish awareness or restrict access to the following:
- Slip, trip, or fall hazards that cannot be eliminated.
- Multi-level fall hazards such as holes in the floor or open ledges that cannot be otherwise eliminated.
Educate your employees to identify conditions and behaviors that cause falls:
- Carrying objects that block the view of the steps
- Running/ Rushing work
- Failure to use the handrail
- Working in areas cluttered by objects
- Use of ladders that do not suit the job
- Use of ladders that are in poor condition
- Improper ladder placement
- Improper ladder use
- Reaching/leaning too far
- Using a step ladder that is too short
- Using scaffolds without guard rails or toe boards
- Using poorly constructed scaffolds
- Using scaffolds without bracing to prevent sway
- Working around uncovered floor openings
- Working near floor openings that have been insufficiently covered
- Working around floor openings that have been insufficiently marked
- Failing to ensure that wall openings are barricaded
- Working near wall openings that may break easily
- Failing to tie off when working near exposed wall openings
Falls are the leading cause of all deaths in the workplace. Remember, teamwork keeps workers safe and production high on any job. Teamwork also prevents accidents. All we have to do is think of the other person’s safety as well as our own.