According to the U.S. Department of Labor, slips, trips and falls (STFs) were responsible for more than 308,000 non-fatal workplace injuries in 2012 (the most recent data available). STFs rank second it accidental deaths behind motor vehicle crashes.
Unfortunately, there is no way to 100% guarantee that injuries won’t happen on your job site. The bad news is that accidents do happen from time to time.
But, there is good news!
There are preventative measures that can be taken to decrease the risks of injuries and/or fatalities on the job.
Of course there are many ways to increase safety, but one basic measure is to have an effective housekeeping plan. Housekeeping is defined by OSHA as the practice of maintaining a clean, clutter-free, organized work site that eliminates or greatly reduces the risk of a slip, trip or fall.
It may seem minute, but the consequences of neglecting work site housekeeping are not.
Your Business is Greatly Effected
For employers, it is costly not to invest time into putting together a plan. Injured workers lead to:
- An increase in spending to recruit and properly train temporary workers
- A decrease in efficiency
- A decrease in the number of days worked on the job site
- An increase in workers’ compensation premiums
How To Create a Safer Work Environment Using a Housekeeping Plan
- Conduct an inspection at your work site to expose the possible trouble areas for slips, trips and falls. Some common types of hazards leading to STFs are: inadequate lighting, electrical cables, unexpected placement of equipment, loose flooring, uneven walking surfaces. There are many more – and each list will differ from job site to job site.
- Create a plan for how to eliminate these potential hazards. Strategize in order to envision what your work site would look like without those trouble areas. Then, devise your plan for how to achieve this! Again, this will look different for every work environment, but your plan could include things like: assigning cleaning responsibilities to specific employees, ensuring employees are wearing proper footwear on the job, making sure light switches are easy to locate, create extra storage space for cables and tools. Your list will be specific to your job site needs.
- Make this a part of your daily routine. Housekeeping is not a “every so often” thing, nor is it a “whenever we think of it” thing. Housekeeping practices must be maintained and kept-up with in order to be effective.
- Employees must be trained in your housekeeping practices. In order for your housekeeping plan to work, you and your employees must be on the same page. Mandatory training programs will allow workers to hear the end goal of your specific housekeeping plan. Each employee should understand his/her role in keeping the work site safe.
It’s normal for these plans to evolve with your work site as it undergoes change. But, we promise you will not regret putting together a good housekeeping plan to stick to!