Keeping work areas clean can reduce accident risks
No one wants to be in a messy home. Why should your workplace be any different—especially when it can compromise safety. Combustible materials like sawdust, empty boxes, and plastic bags can catch fire if exposed to open flames, sparks, or space heaters. A pipe left on the floor can cause a trip and fall. And that pile of scrap metal on the bench can lead to an awkward move and an injury while trying to work around it.
But some simple housekeeping can reduce the risk:
- Keep work areas neat: A jobsite advertises the quality of your work—and your commitment to safety—to the public, building owners, inspectors, and other contractors. A messy jobsite can discourage potential customers and others from wanting to work with you.
- Never throw material out of windows or off rooftops: The only time it’s allowed is if precautions are made to prevent material from damaging the building or hitting other workers.
- Use a chute or enclosed slide: OSHA requires one if materials are dropped more than twenty feet outside the building.
- Use covered containers for contaminated rags: Rags used on oil or solvents can spontaneously combust if left in a pile and exposed to oxygen.
- Use wet mopping or HEPA vacuums: Don’t dry sweep the area if there’s a lot of dust or it has harmful components such as lead, asbestos, or silica.
- Dispose of scrap once: Tossing scrap into a pile only to move the pile later creates double handling, which is counterproductive.
- Do monthly self-inspections: Check your workplace for any areas, conditions, or practices that may need attention to prevent an accident.
By following these simple steps, your workplace will not only be cleaner, but safer for everyone nearby.