You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Never has this phrase been so true as when it comes to housekeeping at work. The negative impressions and implications of poor housekeeping can affect you and co-workers for a long time to come. Morale is lowered for most people who must function every day in a messy, disorderly work environment, although they may not be aware of the cause.
Safety is an even more critical issue. If your housekeeping habits are poor, the result may be employee injuries-or even death, citations by OSHA (or another regulatory agency), and even difficulty in securing future work. How can such a “minor” issue have such serious consequences?
Here are some results of poor jobsite housekeeping practices:
- Injuries, when employees trip, fall, strike or are struck by out-of-place objects;
- Injuries from using improper tools because the correct tool can’t be found;
- Lowered production because of the time spent maneuvering over and around someone else’s mess, and time spent looking for proper tools and materials;
- Time spent investigating and reporting accidents that could have been avoided;
- Fires due to improper storage and disposal of flammable or combustible materials and wastes;
- Substandard quality of finished products because of production schedule delays, damaged or defective finishes, ill-equipped employees, etc.;
- Lack of future work due to a reputation for poor quality;
- “Wall-to-wall” OSHA inspections due to the “first impression” of the compliance officer.
General housekeeping rules to remember are:
- Clean up after yourself. Pick up your trash and debris and dispose of it properly, or place it where it will not pose a hazard to others. Institute a routine cleaning schedule.
- Keep your work area clean throughout the day. This will minimize the amount of time needed to clean a “larger mess” at the end of the day.
- Dispose of combustibles and flammables properly. If improperly discarded, they will increase the potential for a fire.
- Stack materials and supplies orderly and secure them so they won’t topple.
Think SAFE, Be SAFE, Work SAFE.