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Toolbox Talk No. 9 - Housekeeping on Construction Jobsites

Toolbox Talk No. 9 - Housekeeping on Construction Jobsites

Construction is a tough job. Hectic, long days can be overwhelming and tiring, but housekeeping should not be skipped no matter how exhausted you may be. It is an essential task that provides a clean, safe workspace. Not only does it reduce injury, but it can also help create a positive work environment by fostering positive attitudes and habits.

The Dangers of Clutter

It is easy to trip and fall on an oil spill or a forgotten tool. Falling objects can easily hit a fellow worker and cause a concussion or worse. Loose or protruding nails or wire can easily puncture the skin, causing injury to yourself or coworkers. During inclement weather, trash and debris on a roof can block drains or gutters, causing flood or destruction of the roof. Hazardous chemicals or soaked rags can cause fires, chemicals burns, and more. Blocked walkways can cause severe injuries and inconveniences. Keeping a clean workspace is about the safety and preservation of property. It saves time, money, and lives.

Tips and Tricks

• Housekeeping should be a routine job task that takes place regularly throughout a shift. Saving housekeeping for the end of the day causes a buildup of debris, tools, and materials that can easily cause injury or destruction of property.
• Walkways should be clear of tools, materials, and hazards, including hoses, power cords, welding leads, supplies, and debris.
• If something has spilled, post warning signs and guards around it.
• Finally, if you are in charge of a construction site, be sure to provide adequate time for your workers to clean up throughout the day and at the end of their shift.
• Regulate muddy areas by placing plywood or boards over them.
• Plan for the disposal of waste in advance and remove debris regularly.
• Never throw materials or tools, especially from heights.

Proper Storage

Housekeeping is not only about keeping things clean, but it is also about having a clear, organized system of storage. It may seem like a waste of time or money, but that is a misjudgment. Proper storage of materials allows workers to use their time more effectively. It also helps prevents extra costs, such as damage to materials or workplace injury.

We recommend storing tools and materials in ordered bins that are easily indefinable. An easy way to do this would be to write the enclosed item’s name on the container, such as “hand tools.”

The storage of flammable and hazardous materials is very important for ensuring health and safety. These materials should be kept in covered waste containers away from other materials and workers completing tasks. Full barrels should always be kept upright, and it is best to store empty barrels away from full ones to prevent confusion. Fire extinguishers should be kept close, clearly marked, and accessible in case of emergency. Finally, always properly ventilate storage areas to ensure the health of yourself and fellow employees.

Housekeeping at Heights

Working at heights means there are naturally more risks involved, but they are simple procedures for mitigating those risks. Housekeeping is another simple way to ensure everyone on the job site is safe. The first step is to keep materials and tools secured on roofs. Tool lanyards should be used to prevent tools from falling. If you don’t have one, make sure to keep your objects away from edges.

We all know waste can accumulate quickly on a job site, so step two is to ensure there is a safe way to dispose of trash. Debris chutes are an effective way of removing waste from a raised work zone. Make sure to adequately mark the area and post relevant hazard, PPE, and hard hat signage.

Good housekeeping looks like…
• Clean floors
• Organized, stored materials and tools
• Arranged machinery and equipment
• Classified walkways
• Properly removed debris and trash
• Suitable removal of dust and dirt

Thank you for reviewing construction jobsite housekeeping with us today. We hope this has been a helpful reminder for yourself and your employees!

Wishing you a happy and safe workplace,
Wryker’s Safety Team
Next article Toolbox Talk No. 8 - Safety Monitor Systems

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