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March 06, 2014
12 tips for avoiding OSHA housekeeping citations

Good housekeeping can be a revealing indicator of a company’s commitment to worker protection. Find out why clear walkways and properly stored materials matter to OSHA, and why they should matter to you.

OSHA inspectors and safety consultants agree that you can get a good idea about safety and health practices at a business by walking in the main entrance. There’s a strong correlation between a clean, orderly workplace and a safe, successful organization. Good housekeeping matters because it:

  • Reduces accidents and fire hazards;
  • Helps maintain safe, healthy work conditions;
  • Saves time, money, materials, space, and effort;
  • Improves productivity and quality;
  • Boosts morale; and
  • Reflects an image of a well-run, successful organization.

Housekeeping essentials

OSHA inspectors will not hesitate to cite violations of its requirement that “all places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms shall be kept clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.”

Avoid OSHA citations by creating a daily cleanup policy and program that sets out duties including the following:

  1. Keep floors, stairways, aisles, and other passageways clear of tools, equipment, trash, and other materials.
  2. Close drawers.
  3. Put tools away when they’re not in use, and cover any sharp edges.
  4. Stack materials carefully so they won’t fall or block sprinkler access.
  5. Clean up all spills immediately and properly, or call someone who can.
  6. Report any loose or broken flooring or any broken equipment.
  7. Keep food and beverages away from the work area.
  8. Properly dispose of all trash.
  9. Keep paper and other combustibles away from lights and electrical equipment.
  10. Prevent dirt or grease buildup on machinery and equipment.
  11. Keep containers of flammables closed when not in use.
  12. Don’t place tools or equipment on the edges of shelves or tables.

Take a housekeeping and equipment inventory of your work areas. Look for unnecessary tools, parts, materials, and supplies. Store or get rid of unneeded items.

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