What Does HouseKeeping Have to Do with Office Safety?
The term housekeeping probably brings to mind images of sweeping the floor, washing windows, dusting lamps, vacuuming or some other domestic task. Yet, in reality, housekeeping is not just important for the home, it is just as vital for the office or workplace – and not just for aesthetic reasons. Housekeeping is essential to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.
All workplaces from traditional offices to industrial workplaces, factories, warehouses and manufacturing plants must comply with OSHA workplace and safety standards, and in order to do so, some basic level of housekeeping is required. Employers that do not meet these standards can be fined for non-compliance. However, even with these laws in place, having more stringent housekeeping best practices will only help to increase the overall safety of the workplace and improve worker morale, productivity and health.
Keeping the workplace clean is not easy, especially when there are many people sharing a space, all with different habits and standards of cleanliness, but it is possible when it is a joint effort between employers and employees. Here are three areas in the workplace where housekeeping is a must:
Hallways and Walkways
Strom & Associates note that slips, falls and trips are the second leading cause of nonfatal workplace injuries according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To avoid injury or worse, all walkways should be kept clean and clutter free. Leaks or spills should be cleaned up immediately, damaged or worn flooring materials should be replaced, all exit ways should be kept clear, and mirrors and signs should be used in cases where there are blind spots. If you aren’t able to regularly maintain these essential areas, then you should employ the services of a professional cleaning company who can take care of it for you. Those in America can look to some of these top rated cleaning companies, whereas those in the UK should look into the services of Ideal Cleaning who operate across the country.
The Office Kitchen & Break Room
Employees spend lots of time in the kitchen and breakroom, and with so many people using a small space, the risk of food poisoning and foodborne illness increases. Even when the area appears clean, dangerous bacteria can be lurking unseen if certain hygiene standards are not maintained. These communal areas have been found to have approximately 20,951 germs per square inch.
Specific germ haven spots include doorknobs, microwave oven handles, sinks, and other places that are frequently handled. These areas should be disinfected often. The fridge, too, is another area that needs special attention. It should be regularly cleaned with disinfectant solution, the temperature should be kept at 40 degrees fahrenheit or lower, and all food should be disposed of when it reaches its expiration date. The cleaner the kitchen is the less likely employees will be sick at home with food poisoning.
Besides for all the usual reasons why bathrooms need to be kept clean, there is another lurking cause for concern. According to the OSHA, a common health hazard in the workplace is the germination of mold. Since mold can cause adverse health effects for employees including respiratory problems, warm and humid areas where it grows – such as the bathrooms – need to be kept particularly clean. To reduce the chance of mold growth the area needs to be disinfected and in the event that mold is seen, it needs to be reported immediately.
Clearly, keeping the workplace clean by implementing proper hygiene standards is important for worker safety. Added benefits are that it will contribute to a more productive atmosphere where employees feel comfortable and enjoy spending their shift.