Keep it clean< Back to Blog
When working at a busy site, it may not always seem a high priority to remove a few scrap materials, clean up some debris or put an unused tool into storage, but this is exactly the kind of good housekeeping that is so important. Not only do these practices maintain site safety and prevent accidents or injuries but they also help to protect the environment.
Responding to the fact that thousands of construction workers suffer from slips, trips and falls every year, back in 2006, the HSE carried out its ‘Good Order’ initiative. Inspecting 933 sites for good order issues, the HSE immediately stopped work at 134 sites due to their poor conditions. Overall, less than a quarter of sites were found to be in good order.
We would hope that things have improved since then!
Here at Sheriff Construction, we think good housekeeping is something to be proud of and we’ve made it clear that this is a responsibility all our workers should be undertaking on a continual basis.
In practice, there may be a little more to it than that, so let’s go over the key points to remember:
- Keep walkways and stairways clean, clear and free from obstructions (e.g. unnecessary materials, waste, extension cords etc). Be sure to segregate work traffic routes with pedestrian routes.
- Scrap materials, debris and rubbish should be regularly removed from the work site and placed in an appropriate skip or container. Use chutes/ other approved waste-removal devices wherever they are provided and, even if it’s only a small amount of debris or even just a dirty rag or two that’s lying around, get rid of it to prevent build-up. If you see it, sort it!
- Pay attention to site procedures around the proper storage of materials and tools. Remove items that are not currently being used from the work area and store them in their proper place (as well as removing a tripping hazard, this will keep them in better condition).
- Spilled chemicals, fuels or solids can be a significant health/ safety problem and have an adverse impact on the environment. Clean up such spillages immediately and ensure they are disposed of correctly. Be sure to seal product drums and containers tightly to prevent evaporation, spillage, and contamination.
- Keep areas designated for changing or eating clean and tidy. Be especially careful not to let food scraps or items like packaging, wrappings, drink cans or cartons accumulate. Place all rubbish in the correct container.
- Keep toilet facilities clean and sanitary. Be considerate to the fact that someone else has to use this convenience after you so be prepared to pick up that toilet brush and use it now and then!
- Above all, take responsibility. Everyone working on site should be aware of site policies around areas like the movement/ storage of materials and waste-management. They must play their part in any risk assessments around housekeeping and accept it’s part of their everyday job to keep the site clean and tidy.
A site with good housekeeping takes minutes to keep orderly.
A site with poor housekeeping takes hours to keep orderly.
Think about it!