We often think of spring cleaning as getting our homes in order. As an employer, have you stopped to think about your workplace as well? Good housekeeping, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, protects employees from injuries, keeps the workplace clean and most importantly, results in improved safety. Workplace housekeeping can be as simple as eliminating fire hazards or removing hazardous chemicals.
In 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.414 preventable workplace deaths in the U.S. Another 4.5 million injuries were reported, costing employers $161.5 billion. While these statistics are alarming, you can become part of the solution and eliminate hazards.
-Clean your work environment
It is important to keep aisles, exits and stairways free from clutter. An untidy work environment can lead to injuries and ergonomic issues. Clutter leaves less space to move around, impacting employee productivity.
Store items properly and in designated locations. This will help prevent an overflow in hallways, stairwells and other areas. Also, make sure electrical cords are secured and out of walkways to prevent tripping hazards.
-Protect your employees from fire hazards
In the U.S., workplace fires and explosions kill 200 employees and cause more than 5,000 injuries each year, according to OSHA. Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility. As an employer, you should design escape routes for your facility and conduct frequent fire drills. Sprinklers and smoke alarms also should meet state fire codes and should be tested regularly.
-Eliminate falls in the workplace
Hard hat and scaffolding falls are the second-leading cause of on-the-job preventable deaths and the No. 1 cited concern for general industry and construction employers. The main culprits? Ladders and walking surfaces. New safety mats are being designed to help eliminate falls and some employers grind surfaces to make sure they are even. Recognizing hazards can help keep your facility safe.
Aside from workplace housekeeping, it is also important to conduct regular safety walkarounds of your facility. Not only will this show your employees your commitment toward their safety, but it will show the effectiveness of your organization’s safety program. OSHA offers a great resource guiding employers through pre-inspection activities, walkaround tutorials and demonstrates how to evaluate your workplace post-inspection.