What is housekeeping?

Discussion in 'Housekeeping' started by Neil Enslin, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. Neil Enslin

    Neil Enslin Moderator

    Housekeeping means a place for everything and everything in its place all the time.

    It is important and desirable because:

    1. It cuts down the time spent looking for goods, articles and tools.
    2. Space is saved when everything is stacked away tidily.
    3. Injuries are avoided when gangways and working areas are kept clear of superfluous materials.
    4. Fire hazards are reduced if combustible materials are kept in proper receptacles.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2009
  2. Neels Nortje

    Neels Nortje Moderator

    100% correct Neil!

    Another advantage if good housekeeping principles are adhered to on construction sites is improved productivity. A study has shown that by appointing dedicated cleaners to ensure stair cases are free form rubble and all unused material and equipment is stores away will improve the site's productivity.

    The return in investment (cost of employing cleaning staff vs improved production) is normally tenfold.

    Good housekeeping does pay!:)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2009
  3. Neil Enslin

    Neil Enslin Moderator

    Here are some more thoughts on why housekeeping is important:

    Poor housekeeping can be a cause of accidents such as:

    1. Tripping,
    2. being hit by falling objects,
    3. slipping,
    4. striking against,

    Management responsibilty:

    Management must ensure that an acceptable standard of housekeeping is maintained. Housekeeping standards would include issues like:

    • Store materials and equipment properly,
    • Remove scrap, waste and debris at appropriate intervals
    • Provide training and information.

    Employees responsibility:

    • Take reasonable care of himself and others,
    • Obey lawful instruction,
    • Report substandard situations and incidents,
    • Do not interfere or misuse safety equipment,

    Reasons and benefits of good housekeeping:

    Reasons for housekeeping at workplace:​

    1. Can eliminate some workplace hazards and help get a job done safely and properly,
    2. Poor housekeeping can frequently contribute to accidents by hiding hazards that cause injuries,
    3. If the sight of debris, clutter and spills is accepted as normal, then other more serious health and safety hazards may be taken for granted,

    Housekeeping is not just cleanliness, it includes:

    1. Keeping work area neat and properly,
    2. Maintaining halls and floors free of slip and trip hazards,and
    3. removing of waste material and other fire hazards from work areas.

    It also requires paying attention to important details such as:

    • the layout of workplace,
    • aisle marking,
    • the adequacy of storage facilities, and
    • Maintenance.

    Good housekeeping is also a basic part of accident and fire presentation. Effective housekeeping on going operation, it is not hit and miss to clean up done occasionally. Periodic "panic "clean ups are costly and ineffective in reducing accidents.

    Benefits of good housekeeping practices:

    • Reduced handling to ease the flow of material,
    • Fewer tripping and slipping accidents,
    • Decreased fire hazards,
    • Lower worker exposures to hazardous substances,
    • Better control of tools and material,
    • More efficient equipment cleanup and maintenance,
    • Better hygienic conditions leading to improved health,
    • more effective use of space,
    • Reduced property damage by improving preventive maintenance,
    • improved morale.

    Good housekeeping programme:

    1. Establish a material flow plan,
    2. Employee training,
    3. Assign responsibilities,
    4. Inspection.

    Any thoughts out there? Please interact with us, we need you too!!!

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2009
  4. Geoff Truter

    Geoff Truter New Member


    Hi, Guys,
    I respect your comments regarding Management Responsibility.
    However, if top management does not enforce discipline and shows a "no care" attitude, your whole housekeeping efforts fall flat.
    Not to mention non compliance of the OHSAct.
    Any thoughts out there?
    Kind regards, Geoff.
  5. Neil Enslin

    Neil Enslin Moderator


    Thank you for comment, you 100% correct, that is why it's important that top management must commitment themselves to your housekeeping policies and procedures but setting the example and ensuring that employees are trained and informed of best housekeeping practices before one starts to enforce your policies and procedures.
  6. charl

    charl New Member



    I agree that is the basic rule and " BUY IN "


  7. samdrough

    samdrough New Member

    Thanks guys all of you...Really great that you shared the information....

  8. Frank Jordan

    Frank Jordan New Member

    Good morning to all from a cold Bushveld
    Thank You for the topic Housekeeping, an issue that seems to be a problem on all projects.As a believer that safety starts with good housekeeping that should be maintained and managed daily. I would like to share the following on how we as the client manage our contractors regarding housekeeping.
    1. Daily walkthroughs.
    Here we go to the different sites, attend their toolbox talks, check their risk assessments, address, rectify and if necessary training on the relevant issue.
    2. Two weekly management safety walkthrough.
    Split up in teams and visit the different sites, in cases of housekeeping problems, we address and if necessary stop the work, rectify and then carry on with the task.Where necessary give recognition to those who deserve it
    ( Visible Felt Leadership)
    3. Monthly safety Officers Risk Inspection.
    This is a legal inspection where we take photos, compile the inspection report, and send to all the responsible people per E-mail. The contractors safety officer in return, supply us with dates regarding the correction of unsatisfactory conditions. The document is signed off, scanned and stored on the system (Sharepoint) for legal purposes. ( Closing the loop)

    In all mentioned cases, Management must be involved, must be commited,must be part of the team for a safe and successful project.
    And from a safey practitioners view point, be hard on the standard and soft on the person
    Thank you
    Frank Jordan
  9. Mark.Hultzer

    Mark.Hultzer New Member

    Hi all, I'm new to the forrum. I am a Project Manager on a construction site and with regards to houskeeping I have a habit during my walkthroughs in the morning of picking up any pieces of rubish I see and giving it to the site forman to carry around on the walkabout. (Rather than just pointing at it.) Its amazing how quickly they get tired of carrying all the rubish around the site and start enforcing cleanliness on site. Hope it helps.


    vincent holloway likes this.
  10. Neels Nortje

    Neels Nortje Moderator

    Hi Mark,

    Welcome to the Forum.

    The Construction Industry need more Projects Managers like you. :)
  11. Brian

    Brian Member


    The dangers of poor housekeeping are real. It saps productivity, morale and operating efficiency, yet goes largely ignored. When every competitive rand counts, it's puzzling that more construction site project managers and managers of factories and workshops don’t make a concerted effort to address a problem that is so easy to fix.

    Housekeeping is the manifestation of pride in your organization. A clean and well-organized workplace is the cornerstone of a robust safety management program that promotes worker safety, respect, dignity, and morale.