July 28, 2017 – Louis Griesemer, president of Springfield Underground and NSSGA co-chair; and Marv Lichtenfels, MSHA deputy administrator, metal/non-metal, issued the following statement from the MSHA-NSSGA Alliance:
Although good housekeeping can sometimes be overlooked, it is a key part of eliminating potential safety hazards and preventing issues with equipment and safety management.
Keeping all areas within an operation neat and orderly can prevent slips, trips and falls, which are the second most-common cause of workplace injuries and accounted for nearly a quarter of all injuries at aggregates operations last year.
Focusing mostly on equipment and maintenance tasks can lower the importance given to general housekeeping. We suggest broadening safety evaluations beyond just these two areas in order to make sure that all areas of an operation are well-organized.
One benefit of keeping work areas neat – besides the fact that it’s called for in 30 CFR 56/57.20003 – is that good housekeeping can lead to reduced injuries and more productive operations.
While the specifics of keeping clean and orderly work places varies from operation to operation, examiners should universally evaluate the orderliness of workplaces, passageways and storerooms. Also, examiners should focus on maintaining clean and dry floors throughout all offices and work areas.
Doing so illustrates a full commitment to safety, health and compliance, because when it comes to housekeeping, paying attention to the little things can pay big dividends.