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Work Health and Safety Blog

There's so much happening in the world of health & safety. Changes in legislation and requirements, changes in best practice, changes in ... you name it. Here's my take on making it simple. Simply Genius WHS - stop guessing... manage with confidence.

When housekeeping is worth its weight in gold and you'll have a safer workplace

Maralyn Kastel - Thursday, April 18, 2013

I started this year with a personal goal to de-clutter my home and a quarter of the way through the year I am halfway through my de-cluttering my house. Friend and visitors see the uncluttered areas and their response has been one word “WOW”.

From the many workplaces that I have visited, general housekeeping is almost always something most businesses struggle with.  This in turn increases the risks of accidents.

It is accepted that poor housekeeping and poor building maintenance are common causes of workplace injuries. Cracked and uneven floors, blocked walkways, piles of dust and off-cuts, spills, cords, hoses and fallen tools can cause slips, trips or falls.

It is by far the most often overlooked and neglected part of having a safe workplace.  I know you are all BUSY, BUSY, BUSY and no matter how BUSY you are – it takes but one minute to move that box, pick up that hose, put away those packages, keep the walkway clear, etc. 

Set up a team
Set up a “housekeeping” team and schedule regular clean-ups/ throw out and tidy days.  Put these dates in your calendar of activities. 

Floors and stairs

  • Keep them uncluttered, clean and tidy up as you go. 
  • Sweep, wash and maintain regularly
  • An oldie, but a goodie, have a “place for everything” and put “everything in its place”

Hands up if you have stuff in your workplace that is just that – “stuff”? I thought so.  Why not start the with a clean out:

  • Get rid of unnecessary items
  • Sort out what is needed and have a clean out of stuff
  • STOP hoarding stuff just in case
  • If it works put it in a place where it can be used
  • If it doesn’t work, file it, dump it or donate it – just get rid of it
  • Don’t overload racking, shelving as it increases the risk of collapse causing serious injuries
  • Know and display the weight limit (safe working load) on racking and shelving.
  • Know the weight limit for mezzanine floors (if used for storage)
  • Make sure passageways in storage areas are wide enough for people and equipment such as trolleys or forklifts.
  • Make sure there is impact protection (bollards) and
  • Repair or replace damaged shelves, racks or pallets.
  • Don’t overstock or over-stack as items may fall

Make sure you talk with your workers on a regular basis and include good housekeeping as part of your health & safety meetings or toolbox talks.

You never know it could save someone’s life and that’s worth its weight in gold. If I can do it so can you.

Did you know? Falls from less than one metre can result in fractures, spinal cord injury, concussions and brain damage

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