One of the most common cause of accidents in the workplace, and the home, are slips, trips and falls. That is why one of the most vital parts of any job is the clean-up that follows.
A quick walkthrough of any workplace offers an excellent indication to the businesses attitude towards safety. Housekeeping tends to be an accurate indication of a company’s attitude towards worker safety, quality and production. An area that is poorly maintained leads to threats and hazards everywhere. Not only does good housekeeping improve safety, but it sets the standard for everyone else. A clean working space is indicative of the health and safety approach of any business.
If it’s normal to see clutter, debris and spillages then this is more likely indicative of deeper health and safety hazards.
The easiest way to ensure you maintain safety standards is by cleaning as you go- this leaves you with a small clean-up at the completion of your task and keeps you safe as you work. Periodic clean ups do nothing to prevent accidents.
Whether you work in a retailer, a construction site, or you complete odd jobs at home- the clean-up is inevitable. You might be dealing with dangerous materials, debris or toxic products, regardless of what you will be handling, leaving anything behind can cause injury to others.
This could cause an injury to yourself, passers-by, colleagues or customers. It is absolutely vital that any debris is removed immediately upon completion of work. The work area itself should be cordoned off while working to prevent any injuries as you work.
Keeping your job site clean also leads to increased productivity, tools get misplaced as clean ups get put off. It also strengthens the reputation of the company. If you are on a building site and a client, or a home/business owner stops by they don’t want to see complete and utter chaos. It leaves the wrong impression, which is why cleaning as you go is just as vital as the final clean up.
Health & Safety is a serious part of any business, and the failure to comply with rules and regulations could not only cost you your job, it could cost the company money in lawsuits, a loss of reputation, thus a loss of business, and in some cases- death.
In many cases you will be struggling to reach a deadline, perhaps someone has called off sick and you’re running out of time. This is no excuse to neglecting health and safety by leaving your workspace is an untidy manner. As stated above, the consequences could be tragic.
Everyone has worked with someone who fails to clean up after themselves, whether it has been in an office environment with coffee cups stacking up, or piles of paperwork all over the desk. Consider what your first impressions were of that person. You probably didn’t think about their success, or the contract they had won- you most likely wondered how they got anything accomplished in all of that mess. Your ability to leave your workspace tidy is as important to you personally, as it is to you professionally- for your image, the company’s image and to your health.
A workspace that has been left without proper clean up tells prospective clients that a company is disorganized, whether it is because the business is poorly run, or just lacks professionalism. While your clients may not be well versed in your industry, everyone knows how difficult it can be to work in a cluttered environment.
Apart from the slips, trips and falls that could occur through employees failing to clean up after their job- other illnesses can also be causing by poor clean up.
Consider a restaurant with dirty air ducts and refrigerators. The former could cause lung problems and the latter could spread illness and bacteria, and worse still: food poisoning.
When you eat at your desk and fail to clean up at yourself you risk attracting cockroaches, mice and ants.
There are also risks of falling objects, falling into misplaced materials, as well as cutting or puncturing skin on nails, wire, or steel strapping that has been left sticking out.
Carpets should be vacuumed, floors should be swept, trash should be bagged and removed from the premises, surfaces should be wiped down, and dishes should be taken home and washed properly. All of these play into keeping your workplace professional, tidy and safe- though these are not frequently discussed when dealing with workplace cleanliness.
At the completion of your work day ensure that all tools are secured in their proper place, and the area is swept down and returned to its original state. This will prevent any slips, trips and falls. Additionally, any combustible materials should be stored correctly in order to avoid fire hazards.
There are a number of ways to minimize clutter in your work area- start by planning the job and only bringing the materials required.
Create a routine, complete your clean ups in the same order at the same time every day to ensure it is a habit you will never forget.
You are responsible for your own area of work and must remember that a clean working environment is a productive working area that also enhances the safety of everyone. Every employee plays their part in health and safety, it is everybody’s responsibility and the only way to ensure a workplace is safe is if everyone is playing their part. Your work is not complete until the clean-up has been done, nothing should be left for the next shift, or for the next morning.
Effective housekeeping plays a part in: fewer accidents, a decrease in fire hazards, reduced exposure to hazardous substances, increased control of materials and tools, equipment operating more efficiently due to correct cleaning and maintenance, improved hygiene thus improved health, effective us of storage space, a reduction in property damage, less janitorial work, improved productivity and all of these things provide an improvement in employee morale.
Check out this video for some additional good tips on this topic.