Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping

Need toolbox talks on housekeeping? You’ve come to the right place! Here are a few toolbox talks on housekeeping that you will find very helpful. Remember to share these topics with your crew. Also, we recommend editing our general messaging to ensure it’s suitable for your own work taking place.

Housekeeping is Orderliness on the Job

Man worker in the field by the solar panels
Here are some Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping that you will enjoy.

Have you noticed that on a clean work site, where materials are piled properly and debris is removed daily, the job seems to go much better?

Poor housekeeping around the job is double trouble: it breeds inefficiency and accidents. The primary responsibility for good housekeeping rests with the superintendent, but everyone has an obligation to keep his work area clean.

As you are doing your job, don’t let debris pile up underfoot — remove it at regular intervals. It will speed up your production and lessen your exposure to injury. Moreover, you are required to do so by law. Subcontractors have a big part to play in job orderliness. Stopping to clean up never wastes time. It has to be done sometime, so why not do it when it will benefit you most? It is much easier to work in a clean area than one cluttered with material and scrap.

One part of job orderliness is to remove nails from lumber as you go. By removing or flattening nails at the time, you won’t have to handle the material again and you can prevent a foot injury as well. When setting up machinery or stacking materials, do not use an aisle, passageway or entrance that will prevent or inhibit other people from doing their work or having safe passage.

Remember, a clean job is a safe job!

A Toolbox Talk Reminder About How Poor Housekeeping Creates Tripping Hazards

man trips and falls
Experience a slip, trip and fall at work? Here are Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping that can help prevent that in the future.

As each of us works throughout the job site, our daily needs require extension cords, air compressor hoses, cutting torch hoses and welding leads. Each of these cords or hoses acts as an umbilical cord providing us with the necessary electricity, compressed air, acetylene, oxygen, grounds for welding, and power for the welding stinger. The danger here is that any of these leads can become tangled and creates tripping hazards if they are not placed properly before you start work.

We must take the time to run them underneath walkways, overhead if needed, away from access doors and ramps, and away from pinch points. Leads and hoses are subject to cuts, abrasions, puncture and plain old normal wear and tear. Remember to run leads, cords and hoses out of the way, cover them properly and most of all do not let them become tripping hazards.

Many other objects around the work area are just as dangerous. Have you ever stepped on a screwdriver or a short piece of pipe and felt your feet about to slip out from under you? Did you ever trip over a shovel carelessly left on the ground? Have you ever thought of how well a wire snare works in catching small or large animals? How about your foot?! We must take time to pick up pieces of tie wire, if not, you may be the next one that is snared.

All of the above can be solved if we do a little housekeeping while we work. Cleaning up at the end of the job is fine, in fact, it is essential, but job cleanup is not a one-shot proposition, it is a continuous operation. It is an important factor in construction efficiency and in the prevention of work injuries. Remember these tips — store material and tools neatly cleanup scrap as work progresses, keep walkways clear at all times, and take care of your tools Do not leave them where they will cause you or others to fall.

Toolbox Talk About Housekeeping — it is an Important Part of Work

construction worker practicing good housekeeping
Some additional Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping below — keep reading!

Your employer is not your mother! What do I mean by that, you ask? I mean, just like when you were young, your mother had to remind you to pick up after yourself. Now that you are on your own, you still need to be told sometimes. Housekeeping is a very important part of your job. Not only does it improve the overall appearance of your shop or work area, it shows that you take pride in where you work. The best way that you can help keep your workplace clean is to pick up after yourself! Don’t leave it for the next shift or another craft to worry about.

Here are some reasons to keep your work area clean:

  • You reduce trip and fall hazards.
  • Increased production. You won’t have to waste time looking for a misplaced tool. You will always know where your tools are when you put them where they belong after you use them.
  • If someone falls because of materials you left on the floor, you will feel guilty because you were a causal factor in the accident. Also, the injured worker may want to remind you of that!
  • You reduce a potential fire hazard by removing unneeded combustibles from the work area.

Here are some tips to maintain a clean work area:

  • Plan the job. Make a list of the needed tools/materials. This will help to minimize unnecessary clutter around your work area.
  • Develop a routine for cleaning up at the end of the shift or periodically during the shift.
  • Do not allow workers to eat, drink or smoke in the work area, not only because of litter problems, but also because of hygiene concerns.
  • This is not, by all means, all-inclusive. The point I am trying to make is to take responsibility for yourself and your work area! Remember, a clean work area is a productive work area and enhances safety!

Don’t Overlook Housekeeping at Work – Remind Crews with this Toolbox Talk

Worker cleaning the street
You can never have enough Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping – see below for more.

“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Never has this phrase been so true as when it comes to housekeeping at work. The negative impressions and implications of poor housekeeping can affect you and co-workers for a long time to come. Morale is lowered for most people who must function every day in a messy, disorderly work environment, although they may not be aware of the cause.

Safety is an even more critical issue. If your housekeeping habits are poor, the result may be worker injuries-or even death and even difficulty in securing future work. How can such a “minor” issue have such serious consequences?

Here are some results of poor housekeeping practices:

  • Injuries, when workers trip, fall, strike or are struck by out-of-place objects
  • Injuries from using improper tools because the correct tool can’t be found
  • Lowered production because of the time spent manoeuvring over and around someone else’s mess, and time spent looking for proper tools and materials
  • Time spent investigating and reporting accidents that could have been avoided
  • Fires due to improper storage and disposal of flammable or combustible materials and wastes
  • Substandard quality of finished products because of production schedule delays, damaged or defective finishes, ill-equipped workers, etc.
  • Lack of future work due to a reputation for poor quality

General housekeeping rules to remember are:

  • Clean up after yourself. Pick up your trash and debris and dispose of it properly or place it where it will not pose a hazard to others. Institute a routine cleaning schedule.
  • Keep your work area clean throughout the day. This will minimize the amount of time needed to clean a “larger mess” at the end of the day.
  • Dispose of combustibles and flammables properly. If improperly discarded, they will increase the potential for a fire.
  • Remove protruding nails and other sharp objects or hammer them flat to prevent someone from stepping on them or snagging themselves.
  • Stack materials and supplies orderly and secure them so they won’t topple.

Do you value your health and safety, your work reputation, as well as your future employment? If you do, practice these general housekeeping rules.

An uncluttered workplace shows respect for those who work there.

Help keep it that way!

Housekeeping on the Job

Worker cleaning floor with air high pressure machine - Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping
Looking for Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping? Here’s another one you’ll enjoy.

You have a pretty good idea how safe a job is just by looking at it before you start to work. Even a “Sidewalk Superintendent” knows this. A job that looks clean, with everything in its place, is a safe job. That’s all we mean when we talk about job housekeeping. Good housekeeping calls for just two things.

Try to remember them:

FIRST: Keep trash and loose objects picked up and dispose of them.

SECOND: Pile all materials and park all tools and equipment in the places where they belong.

These are the fundamentals of good housekeeping and they’re simple enough. If we don’t follow these two rules, we’re letting ourselves in for trouble.

Putting the rules to work is not so simple. A grand cleanup once a week won’t do the trick. Housekeeping is a job that can’t be put off. We have to do it. It’s up to each individual to be his or her own job housekeeper.

When you see something lying around where it could trip an individual or fall on them, put it in a safe place. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. If it’s something that he or she will be looking for, you can put it safely where they can see it.

You’ve seen jobs, and probably worked on some, where it wasn’t safe to put your foot down without first looking twice to be sure you weren’t going to twist an ankle or run a nail through your shoe. A job like that is poorly run, badly managed. Probably it’s losing money as well as causing accidents.

Some jobs have walkways, aisles, stairs, and ladders by which you get from one place to another. It’s particularly important that these lines of travel be kept safe and clear of loose objects. Workers often carry loads on these routes. They can’t always pick their steps or look around to be sure that nothing is going to trip them or fall on them.

A wet or greasy walkway may cause a bad accident. If you see a treacherous spot, make it your business to do some sweeping, mopping or scraping.

Brick, tile, pipe, steel rods and similar materials scattered about the job or insecurely piled on scaffolds or platforms can cause accidents. All material should be piled in the place set aside for it. Each kind of material has its own characteristic. But some rules for piling apply to all kinds:

First, you have to consider how the material is going to be taken out of the pile. If it’s going to be a fast-moving operation with a big tonnage being unloaded in a short time, be sure to leave space for the worker and the equipment that will have to do the work.

Be courteous. Never pile material in such a way that it will endanger a worker who has to work on it or will make a backbreaking job for the worker who breaks down the pile.

Other points to think about are:

1. The strength of the support if you’re piling material on a floor, platform or scaffold.

2. The stability of the ground if you’re piling a heavy load.

3. The height of the pile so it won’t topple.

4. The need for building racks if it’s pipe or rods you have to stack.

5. The wisdom of waiting for the proper equipment to handle structural steel and other heavy material.

We all know the value of good lighting in job housekeeping. Poor lighting and accidents go together. When you find a light out, report it and get a replacement.

It’s not hard to keep a job clean if all useless material, boxes, scrap lumber, and other trash are picked up and removed regularly. Remember, if they’re allowed to accumulate for even a few days, the job becomes a messy and unsafe place to work.

A Clean Job is a Safe Job

Worker cleaning his work area - Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping
A clean job is a safe job. Here are some Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping that can help prevent a future incident.

‘A clean job is a safe job’ is an old saying that has been around for many years. You may or may not agree completely with the saying, but if you have ever worked at a construction project that was cluttered with scrap material, you do know that good housekeeping plays a big part in maintaining a safe worksite.

Housekeeping requires that during the course of construction, alteration, or repairs, form and scrap lumber with protruding nails, and all other debris, must be kept cleared from work areas, passageways, and stairs in and around buildings or other structures. Combustible scrap and debris must be removed at regular intervals during the course of construction. Safe means must be provided to facilitate such removal. Containers must be provided for the collection and separation of waste, trash, oily and used rags, and other refuse. Containers used for garbage and other oily, flammable, or hazardous wastes, such as caustics, acids, harmful dusts, etc. must be equipped with covers. Garbage and other waste must be disposed of at frequent and regular intervals.

Housekeeping starts at the beginning of the shift and needs to continue throughout the entire workday. Don’t let scrap materials build up — dispose of them daily. Another common housekeeping problem arises with the use of welding leads, air compressor hoses, and extension cords. If placed improperly they become tripping hazards. Keep walkways free for passage.

When stripping forms remember to pull the nails out or bend them over. A protruding nail can cause a nasty puncture wound. Scrap cardboard and packing materials left lying around provide excellent fuel for fires. Pop cans, lunch bags and food scraps or wrappers will attract rodents. Avoid potential fire and health hazards by disposing of these items properly. Housekeeping is a never-ending process. Do your part by keeping your work area and adjacent walkways and stairs clean and orderly.

No doubt about it – if everyone does his or her share, good housekeeping will make Your Job a Safer Job!

Housekeeping at Work

Man in coveralls doing vacuum cleaning
Good Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping are hard to find, which is why you’ll love this one!

Good housekeeping is the first law of incident prevention and should be a primary concern of all supervisors, foremen and the entire workforce. Poor housekeeping often results in unsafe conditions and also implies that the project is poorly managed, and the work being done lacks professionalism. Many incidents and injuries charged to other causes are actually caused by unsafe conditions due to poor housekeeping.

A safe worker knows he can do his best work easier and more quickly if good housekeeping is maintained. Learning the habit of good housekeeping takes practice. The familiar expression ‘a

place for everything and everything in its place’ will assist you in your efforts.

Materials left on the job should be stored in a central location and if possible, stacked out of the way. When cleaning up be sure that all combustible materials are disposed of properly to curtail the possibility of fires. Tripping incident’s can be reduced significantly by frequent clean-ups.

Make it a habit to remove or bend over all nails protruding from scrap lumber to protect against puncture wounds. Sharp-edged and pointed tools should be stored in such a way as to prevent injuries.

Each member of the crew has a responsibility to insure good housekeeping in all phases of his or her work. It’s a lot easier to pick up as you work instead of waiting for the end of the shift. The importance of the relationship between an orderly job and a safe job cannot be over stressed.

We can have clean, well appearing, incident free jobs only if we really want them and insist at everyone cooperates. Good housekeeping requires constant effort and vigilance to make certain the job and equipment are kept in good condition. Are you doing your part?

Remember, good housekeeping promotes safety in the workplace, improves performance, protects you and the public, and just makes good sense.

Need more toolbox talks on housekeeping? Click here for more.

Remember, you can never have enough Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping, so here’s a few more you may enjoy: click here.