Since we began our journey down the Geen Brick Road of Safety, we have met Hazard Analysis in volume I and learned how to identify safety hazards. Then further down the road, we were introduced to PPE, in volume II which showed us what equipment is available to protect employees. Both of these are heavy hitters in the world of workplace safety, but can we still further protect our employees from injury? Yes, of course, we can and it’s up ahead around the bend. Let me Introduce to you, Housekeeping. Granted, it’s not a very glamorous sounding name as it brings up images of maids and hotels who are sweeping, mopping and dusting, but actually, that is a part of Housekeeping.
Trips and falls are the number ONE accident that occurs in the workplace and good housekeeping can severely reduce those numbers. Housekeeping is a concept that covers all areas of the warehouse by •keeping your work area clean (swept/mopped/washed) •free of liquid spills on the floor, they’re dealt with immediately to prevent slips •keep area free of clutter & obstructions (remove scraps, cardboard, excess strapping material, plastic wrap, and other raw materials not needed) •keep it organized (needed tools for adjustments to machinery or repairs as well as machine lubricants are at hand to find when needed and always kept in proper working condition.
•Work area set up for maximum efficiency and ergonomics (setting up a workstation to allow the least amount of movements by the employee to complete their tasks while reducing repetitive motion, as well as stopping and bending over a workbench and reaching for extended periods of time. A great example is the kitchen triangle. To achieve maximum efficiency in the kitchen it is set up with a clearly defined path so the chef can easily reach the three key areas; stove, sink and refrigerator. That’s how your workstation should be set, everything within reach so you don’t have to stop and go find it.
In a warehouse where perishable goods and other food products are stored, good housekeeping is even more critical and referred to as sanitation. Cleaning is always done on a continuous basis as laid out by a master sanitation schedule which ensures all critical areas are consistently covered for cleaning. A good sanitation program will prevent any contamination of food product and keep the facility clean and organized enough to also prevent accidents and the attraction of vermin and insects.
One more term you will hear traveling along the Green Brick Road of Safety in relation to housekeeping is 5S. 5S is a discipline created in Japan that has specific ways to keep your work area clean, free of debris and organized. The 5S stand for Seiri – Clearing up. Seiton – Organizing. Seiso – Cleaning. Seiketsu – standardizing. Shitsuke – self-discipline. There are also variations of 5S like 6S (Sort, Straighten, Sweep, Standardize, Self-Discipline, & Safety). 5S would be a great tool to introduce if you wanted to create a new workplace culture that develops disciplines even a mom would dream of. If you want to learn more about 5S google will give you many leads.
No matter what housekeeping program you decide to go with or what you call it, 5S, 6S, No S, I think you can see why keeping your warehouse organized and clean is important. A quick tip, when your warehouse looks clean, organized and well-kept inspectors of all types tend not to look deeper for issues, bosses won’t hassle you and corporate won’t even think about you.
This does NOT conclude our journey on the Green Brick Road of Safety. There are still a few more safety icons to meet on our journey to make your workplace safe. If you don’t want to miss an issue click on the email icon on the bottom right to receive via email. Please don’t hesitate to also check our website, warehouseflow.com