Updated: Oct 10
Anyone who has raised teen agers knows the value of good housekeeping. What they learn early on will sustain them throughout life. However, if the groundwork isn’t laid early on, those good habits will not only be ignored in their personal lives but in their business lives as well. As anyone who has had military service knows the importance of good housekeeping. They will tell you that it can be a matter of life and death. That’s no exaggeration in the workplace either. Take the example of the excavator operator who practices poor housekeeping. There’s dirt accumulated on the floor of the operators cab and there are tools on the floor. One of those tools became wedged under the brake pedal and the operator tried to stop and ran into the superintendents truck. Or the pile of form boards that are laying all over with nails sticking up and an employee has a puncture to his foot. Examples like this abound in our industry and they don’t need to. There are some simple steps that can be taken to correct poor housekeeping.
Teach employees to clean up after themselves. Recognize good practices, correct poor practices
Schedule routine cleaning. Couple it with inspections, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, safety equipment. Set aside a time at the end of the day or week to clean up.
Store materials neatly to avoid handling more times than necessary.
Keep tools and equipment organized. Ask any utility company what their small tool costs are and the answer will be “too much”. Lost tools and damaged equipment is a direct impact to the bottom line.
The results of good housekeeping steps can be measured.
Less waste. Clutter consumes time and resources.
Employee retention. A clean workplace builds responsibility, pride and ownership.
Fewer repairs. Anyone knows that washing your own car can help you identify scrapes and maintenance items that might go ignored. Regular maintenance and cleanliness extends the life of machines and equipment.
Reduced exposure to hazards. A clean work space is a safe workplace. That may sound contrary to the type of work we do, but many slip trip and fall hazards can be eliminated by good housekeeping.
We expect good housekeeping in areas where we think it might be important to us. Grocery stores, restaurants and businesses are locations where we expect things to be easy to find, healthy, and accessible. Why not have that same expectation in our workplaces. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have something like “THE YARD OF THE MONTH” for construction sites? “JOBSITE OF THE MONTH”. Have you got one?