What Is Housekeeping And Effects Of Poor Housekeeping

What Is Housekeeping

Housekeeping entails general care, cleanliness, orderliness, and maintenance.  Housekeeping is a crucial aspect of workplace safety as good housekeeping helps prevent accidents and also reduce the severity/consequences of accidents.

OSHA regulations require that each working surface be cleared of debris, including solid and liquid waste, at the end of each work shift or job, whichever occurs first, to fully realize the benefit of a clean workplace. It is recommended that good housekeeping be maintained throughout the course of the job and workday.


What housekeeping covers:

Housekeeping covers;

  • Keeping work environment clean
  • Arranging tools and equipments
  • Clearing job waste, clean up messes and spills
  • Arranging job materials to preventing scattering them.
  • Stacking materials, boxes and packages properly.
  • Condoning off any portion of the workplace that is not compliant to the good house-keeping regulation to prevent un-authorized entry.

Effects of poor housekeeping

Here are some effect of poor housekeeping;

  • Fire as a result of oily rags left in an area where hot work is performed, or due to the accumulation of combustible dust.
  • Un-cleared waste could become fuel for the spread of fire.
  • Littered job equipment, tools and materials could pose the risk of trip and d fall.
  • Poor housekeeping could conceal hazards which would normally be visible to be cleared.
  • It can limit work space forcing workers to adopt poor working posture.
  • Poor house keeping can maximize the severity/consequence of accidents.
  • It could result to blockade of emergency exits and emergency equipments.
  • An allergic reaction to a spilled chemical
  • An eye injury from falling grit left in the overhead of a work site.
  • Illness due to the unsanitary conditions of restrooms.
  • Electrical shock as a result of poorly maintained equipment or energy sources, such as broken, cracked or damaged insulation and connections of wiring.
  • Lacerations and amputations when poor maintenance results in inadequate lighting.
  • Exposure to hazardous substances from poor storage and ineffective labeling of hazardous chemicals.

Housekeeping Regulation

OSHA outlines minimum housekeeping requirements to protect workers in  29 CFR 1915.81 regulation.

Also, “The Canadian Center of Occupational Health and Safety” has answered pertinent questions about the subject matter “What is housekeeping” – see major questions and answers from CCOHS here.


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In conclusion, maintaining good house-keeping is very important in our workplaces for accident prevention and minimizing the severity and consequences of accidents.

To achieve good house-keeping, it is important that employers organize house-keeping training for their workers.

The training will do the following:

  • Train them on why and how to stack materials, boxes and packages properly.
  • Why they must clean up messes.
  • Why it is necessary to remove, repair, and/or report housekeeping hazards.
  • Why they should never jeopardize someone else’s health and safety by obstructing the access to exits, electrical panels, or fire extinguishers.
  • Why they should avoid stringing cords, hoses or lines across walkways.
  • Why they should use “S” and “J” hooks and cable trees to keep lines out of walkways; if lines must cross walkways, cover the lines.


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