21st September, 2018
On construction sites, good housekeeping refers to the practice of keeping your site clean and tidy. A tidy work area reduces the risk of accidents and increases fire safety. Implement these 10 rules, and you should see a reduction in slip and trip accidents and near misses on your project.
Good housekeeping is more than a magazine. On construction sites, good housekeeping refers to the practice of keeping your site clean and tidy.
Should you really bother trying to make a construction site a clean and tidy place? Construction work is messy after all, and if you clean up now there will only be more mess later.
Yes, you should practice good housekeeping! A tidy work area reduces the risk of accidents and increases fire safety.
Not only that, but it will actually make your work more productive, and could actually save you money. Because when a site is organised and tidy and everyone knows where everything is, they spend less time looking for things, and more time getting on with things!
This is all well and good in theory, but let's face it, tidying up is one of the jobs that tend to end up last on the list.
On sites, for example, tidying up tends to be left until the end of the shift. But that just means you’re exposing yourself and others to trip hazards all day long – and that’s when the accidents will happen.
So here are 10 good housekeeping rules for a tidy site. Implement these, and you should see a reduction in slip and trip accidents and near misses to your workforce.
After all, if you want your work area free from waste materials, you need somewhere to put them. This could be a skip or other waste disposal bin depending on the amount of waste. Best practice is to segregate waste types for reuse, recycle or landfill.
You need materials and tools for use throughout the project, store them safely. Poorly stacked materials can block access routes or topple over causing crushing injuries or damage to property.
Check your work area at regular intervals throughout the day and clear up as you go along. If trip hazards and mess is starting to build up, sort it out sooner rather than later.
A safe work area includes access and egress. Do not leave materials/tools/benches etc in gangways/corridors where they might impede someone’s escape or cause a trip hazard (it might be you or a colleague who needs to get out in a hurry).
If tools or equipment are out of use, put them away. It’s easy to leave items lying around, but if you won’t be needing them again in a hurry, put them away. If it’s out of use, it should be out of sight, or at least out from under your feet!
Just because it’s not yours, doesn’t mean it’s not your responsibility. If you see anything lying on floors, stairways, passages that could cause people to trip and fall, pick it up and put it in a safe place – DON’T WAIT FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO MOVE IT.
Fix it, or ditch it. Good housekeeping is also about keeping things in good working order on site. Damaged tools or equipment must be taken out of use and immediate steps are taken to have them repaired and put them somewhere safe.
Trailing leads and cables from equipment are common trip hazards, particularly when using portable equipment. You may not have a socket close the working area, but make sure you route the lead away from walkways or access points. Route cables where they do not cause a trip hazard to you or to others.
Make sure waste or the storage of materials does not build up in fire escapes as you may need to use these escapes at some point. Don’t allow waste materials to be stored close to sources of ignition. If all rubbish is regularly collected and put into the skip, in the event of the fire, the danger is confined and more easily dealt with.
A tidy work area requires commitment from everyone. Raise awareness on site with our free good housekeeping toolbox talk. Get everyone practising the same good housekeeping techniques and you will be on your way to a tidy, and safe site, for everyone.
Need to get the rest of your team on board with keeping a tidy site? Download the free good housekeeping toolbox talk and get everyone involved!
This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and BSc (Hons) Construction Management. She is NEBOSH qualified and Tech IOSH.
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