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KU-EHS February Safety Tip: Good Housekeeping

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Good Housekeeping

There are many rules and procedures that we follow on a daily basis to ensure our safety in the workplace. One area that is extremely important yet has a tendency to get overlooked is the matter of good housekeeping. Good housekeeping is critical to our safety efforts. Simply keeping your workspace clean and organized will go a long way toward preventing accidents and injuries on our site.

1. True or False? A clean workplace is preferred, but it isn’t required.

The answer is false. 

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) specifically addresses housekeeping under its Walking-Working Surfaces requirements.
  • According to OSHA, all places of employment, passageways, storerooms and service rooms must be kept clean, orderly and in a sanitary condition.

2. What is the connection between housekeeping and workplace fires?

Fire needs three things to burn:

  • Oxygen — which is always present
  • Fuel — such as trash and debris
  • An ignition source — such as a spark or flame

When we leave trash and debris lying around instead of disposing of it, we provide the fuel for a fire.
In addition:

  • Chemical containers left sitting around, even when empty, can pose a fire hazard in the presence of an ignition source or even another chemical. Follow proper storage procedures for all chemicals, including empty chemical containers.
  • Dust and grease buildup on machinery and tools can produce sparks at high temperatures, creating a potential fire hazard. Keep machines and tools clean and remember to inspect

3. True or False? If you spill a glass of water on the floor, report the situation so someone else can clean it up.

The answer is false!

  • If you spill something, particularly if it is a minor spill, you should first see if you can clean it up yourself.
  • The same is true if you come across a spill.
  • If you cannot clean up the spill yourself, or if you are unsure of what the spilled substance is, report it to the proper personnel.
  • Wet floor signs should be set up until the area is dry

A Final Word

Maintaining a clean and organized workplace may not appear in your job description, but it is something we expect from all of our employees. Thank you for your efforts in this area. We appreciate it!

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