Good Housekeeping means “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”.  It is a basic element of accident, and fire prevention.

Good housekeeping is one of the surest ways to identify a safe workplace. You can tell how workers feel about safety just by looking at their housekeeping practices. Good and effective housekeeping isn’t the result of cleaning up once a week or even once a day. Its the result of keeping cleaned-up all the time. Its an essential factor in a good safety program, promoting safety, health, production, and morale.

Whose responsibility is housekeeping? Its everyone’s, we should all pay attention to housekeeping at work.

Effective housekeeping can:

  • eliminate some workplace hazards and
  • help get a job done safely and properly
  • keep work areas neat and orderly
  • maintain halls and floors free of slip and trip hazards
  • ensure that there is control over the removal of waste materials (e.g., paper, cardboard) and other fire hazards from work areas
  • aisles/walkways are marked,
  • ensure that there is adequate  control over the storage of facilities, and maintenance.
  • contribute to better hygienic conditions leading to improved health
  • result in reduced handling to ease the flow of materials
  • contribute to lower worker exposures to hazardous substances (e.g. dusts, vapours)
  • ensure better control of tools and materials, including inventory and supplies
  • result in more efficient equipment cleanup and maintenance
  • result in improved morale and improved productivity (tools and materials will be easy to find)

Poor housekeeping can:

  • be a cause of accidents, such as:
    • tripping over loose objects on floors, stairs and platforms
    • being hit by falling objects
    • slipping on greasy, wet or dirty surfaces
    • striking against projecting, poorly stacked items or misplaced material
    • cutting, puncturing, or tearing the skin of hands or other parts of the body on projecting nails, wire or steel strapping that frequently contribute to accidents by hiding hazards that cause injuries.
  • be the cause of more serious health and safety hazards taken for granted, because of the sight of paper, debris, clutter and spills being accepted as normal

Housekeeping order is “maintained” not “achieved.”

Cleaning and organisation must be done regularly, not just at the end of the day. Integrating housekeeping into jobs can help ensure this is done. A good housekeeping program identifies and assigns responsibilities for the following:

  • clean up during the shift
  • day-to-day cleanup
  • waste disposal
  • removal of unused materials
  • inspection to ensure cleanup is complete

Do not forget out-of-the-way places such as shelves, basements, sheds, rooms that would otherwise be overlooked. The orderly arrangement of operations, tools, equipment and supplies is an important part of a good housekeeping program.

The final addition to any housekeeping program is inspection.

It is the only way to check for deficiencies in the program so that changes can be made. The documents on workplace inspection checklists provide a general guide and examples of checklists for

Housekeeping – Sub-Contractors

Make sure the sub-contractor adhere to all the safety rules and good housekeeping practices as applicable to the main contractor and that he/she know that “non-adherence” won’t be tolerated.


Floors: Poor floor conditions are a leading cause of accidents so cleaning up spilled oil and other liquids at once is important. Areas that cannot be cleaned continuously, such as entrance ways, should have anti-slip flooring.

Maintain Light Fixtures

Dirty light fixtures reduce essential light levels. Clean light fixtures can improve lighting efficiency significantly.

Aisles and Stairways

Aisles should be wide enough to accommodate people and vehicles comfortably and safely. Aisle space allows for the movement of people, products and materials.

Keeping aisles and stairways clear is important. They should not be used for temporary “overflow” or “bottleneck” storage. Stairways and aisles also require adequate lighting.

Spill Control

The best way to control spills is to stop them before they happen. Regularly cleaning and maintaining machines and equipment is one way. Another is to use drip pans and guards where possible spills might occur. When spills do occur, it is important to clean them up immediately.

Tools and Equipment

Tool housekeeping is very important, whether in the tool room, on the rack, in the yard, or on the bench. Tools require suitable fixtures with marked locations to provide orderly arrangement, both in the tool room and near the work bench. Returning them promptly after use reduces the chance of being misplaced or lost. Workers should regularly inspect, clean and repair all tools and take any damaged or worn tools out of service.


The maintenance of buildings and equipment may be the most important element of good housekeeping. Maintenance involves keeping buildings, equipment and machinery in safe, efficient working order and in good repair. A good maintenance program provides for the inspection, maintenance, upkeep and repair of tools, equipment, machines and processes.


  1. Keep the area around electrical distribution board (DB) clear
  2. Ensure that there are no unsafe conditions and no exposed wires
  3. An working earth leakage must be fitted and must regularly be tested
  4. Are face plates/blank plates fitted
  5. Can the board be locked out
  6. What fire hazards exist
  7. Are danger warning signs posted
  8. Is the board properly located/installed
  9. No wet conditions
  10. Cable entry done correctly
  11. Are circuit breakers working
  12. Are trip switches checked
  13. Plugs and sockets in a safe condition
  14. Are cords insulation in good condition
  15. Are cords entered through the base
  16. Check all cables leading to plant

6.1.2 STORAGE OF MATERIALS Use and storage of flammable liquids

Employers shall:

  1. not require or permit any person to work in a place where the vapour of any liquid can
    • be a explosive hazard, or
    • endanger the safety of any person.
  2. not require or permit a flammable liquid to be
  3. used or applied other than in a room, cabinet or other enclosure specially constructed for this purpose, or
  4. in a place which, owing to its situation or construction or any other feature or circumstance, is of such a nature that-

(a)  no fire or explosion hazard is, can or may be created thereat;

(b)  any vapour resulting from such use or application is efficiently dispersed and diluted into the atmosphere and

(c)  no other workplace can or may be contaminated by such vapour.

  1. only allow the storage of flammable liquids in a specially build enclosure build according to approved specifications,
  2. only allow the storage of flammable liquid needed for work on one day to be taken into or kept in such room, cabinet or enclosure: Provided that partially consumed stock may be stored in a properly marked, fireproof wall cabinet inside the work place;
  3. ensure that all drums, cans, canisters or similar containers holding flammable liquids to be kept tightly closed when not in actual use and, after their contents have been used up, to be removed from the workplace and safely disposed of daily; and
  4. ensure that every such room, cabinet or enclosure to be kept clean, provided that any cleaning, scraping or scouring shall be done with implements that cannot cause sparking. Stacking of articles    

(1)  No employer shall require or permit the building of stacks which consist of successive tiers, one on top of another, unless —

(a)  the stacking operation is executed by or under the personal supervision of a person with specific knowledge and experience of this type of work;

(b)  the base is level and capable of sustaining the weight exerted on it by the stack;

(c)  the articles in the lower tiers are capable of sustaining the weight exerted on them by the articles stacked above them;

(d)  all the articles which make up any single tier are consistently of the same size, shape and mass;

(e)  pallets and containers are in good condition; and

(f)  any support structure used for the stacking of articles is structurally sound and can support the articles to be stacked on it.

(2)  An employer shall not permit —

(a)  articles to be removed from a stack except from the topmost tier or part of that tier; and

(b)  anybody to climb onto or from a stack, except if the stack is stable and the climbing is done with the aid of a ladder or other safe facility or means.

(3)  An employer shall take steps to ensure that —

(a)  persons engaged in stacking operations do not come within reach of machinery which may endanger their safety;

(b)  stacks that are in danger of collapsing are dismantled immediately in a safe manner; and

(c)  the stability of stacks is not endangered by vehicles or other machinery or persons moving past them.

(4)  Unless a stack is otherwise supported an employer shall take steps to ensure that tiers of stacked material consisting of sacks, cases, cartons, tins or similar containers —

(a)  are secured by laying up articles in a header and stretcher fashion and that corners are securely bonded; and

(b)  are stepped back half the depth of a single container at least every fifth tier or that, alternatively, successive tiers are stepped back by a lesser amount: Provided that at least the same average angle of inclination to the vertical is achieved: Provided further that where the containers are of a regular shape and their nature and size are such that the stack will be stable, they may be stacked with the sides of the stack vertical if the total height of the stack does not exceed three times the smaller dimension of the underlying base of the stack.

(5)  Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-regulation (4), free-standing stacks that are built with the aid of machinery may, with the approval of an inspector, be built to a height and in a manner permitted by the nature of the containers being stacked: Provided that —

(a)  the stacks are stable and do not overhang; and

(b)  the operator of the stacking machinery is rendered safe as regards falling articles.


Facilities vary from site to site and if not up to standard should be reported to the site supervisor or to the safety representative for corrective actions to be taken.

  • Employee facilities need to be adequate, clean and well maintained.
  • Smoking, eating or drinking in the work area should be prohibited where toxic materials are handled.

Eating areas

  • The eating area should be separate from the work and change room area and should be cleaned properly each shift.
  • Refuse bins must be provided and cleaned regularly
  • Cooking utensils must be kept clean and stored safely
  • Dishwashing facilities must be kept clean
  • Demarcated areas
  • Floors must be kept clean and in a non-slip condition
  • The area must be disinfected

Washroom/Toilet block

  • Floors/toilets/urinals must be clean and disinfected
  • Toilets flushing/cisterns not overflowing
  • Waste disposal bins must be supplied and cleared
  • wash basins must be kept clean
  • Washroom facilities require cleaning once or more each shift. They also need to have a good supply of soap, toilet paper, towels plus disinfectants, if needed

Change room

  • Lockers are necessary for storing employees’ personal belongings, they should be undamaged and no unnecessary items stored in them.
  • Floors must be kept clean and in a non-slip condition
  • Refuse bins must be provided and cleaned regularly
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