Housekeeping hazards on construction site

Housekeeping hazards on construction site

Housekeeping hazards on construction sites are a sector with a high risk of accidents due to several factors that can cause OSHA penalties. Housekeeping in workplaces aims to prevent accidents caused by bumps and falls as a result of a messy or dirty environment, slippery floors, materials placed out of place and accumulation of leftover or waste material. In this sense, the article establishes the maintenance of good housekeeping as one of the general principles applicable during the execution of the work.

The objective will be to determine the main preventive measures that manage to reduce the amount of waste and allow the implementation of corrective measures that reduce the negative impact of these situations. Below, we offer some basic prevention rules to keep the workplace tidy and clean and thereby contribute to more efficient and safer work.

According to OSHA 1915.81 employer responsibilities are:

  • Establish good housekeeping
  • Eliminate slippery conditions
  • Provide slip-resistant safety shoe
  • Store materials in order that they could not create hazards
  • Provide easy and open access
  • Remove flammable and combustible materials etc.

The purpose of Housekeeping hazards on construction site is to provide the safety personnel with an overview of the impacts of poor housekeeping in the industry and to provide knowledge of reducing the risk of accidents and raise awareness among the worker about the benefit of good housekeeping.

What does the term housekeeping hazards on construction site?

A place for everything and everything in its place. A place is in order when there are no unnecessary things and the necessary things are in their place. When things are organized according to the kind of material, how often it is used, and the number of people who need it.

It means defining the appropriate place to locate the materials, garbage, trash and tools. Establishing an effective visual communication system, using notices, labels or signage, so that things can be easily found and put back in their proper place.

Housekeeping hazards on construction site
Housekeeping hazards on construction site

Housekeeping hazards on construction site refer to construction site management measures that are designed and implemented to minimize the discharge of pollutants from the site.  Chemicals, hazardous materials, solid waste, human waste and construction debris are stored without proper good housekeeping is called Housekeeping hazards on construction site.

  • Awareness, training and signage require to promote proper storage, cleaning and disposal of materials.  Storage areas should be regularly inspected for compliance.
  • Organize objects according to the kind of material and how often you use them. That is, located in the place of easiest access, those things required for the cycle of the task.
  • Use lockers to store tools and other supplies required for the job.
  • Separate those objects that are not useful in your area or workplace, discard them or deliver them to a store.
  • Identify the different types of waste and discuss with your team how to reduce or eliminate it.
  • Explore ways to reuse or recycle materials without compromising quality.
  • Keep drawers and doors closed.
  • Consume food only in the designated places.
  • Use the garbage cans.

What injuries can be caused due to poor housekeeping in your workplace?

Falls slips and trips: Most slip hazards occur when floors are wet or contaminated. And many trip hazards are due to poor housekeeping. Obstacles in the work area can cause falls to the same level. Which are responsible for any injuries at work associated with trauma that can be more or less serious.

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Footsteps on objects: It is the situation that occurs due to tripping or stepping on abandoned objects or irregularities in the ground but that does not cause falls.

Blows, falling objects: A situation that can occur when any part of the workers’ body comes into contact with sharp, pointed or abrasive objects. Some of the most frequent accidents in construction sites and workshops are due to the poor placement of the material. Falling objects and hitting are some of the risks associated with the incorrect order of the tools.

Fire: the risk of fire, especially in certain jobs, is higher if the work area is dirty with flammable substances such as glue, varnish, and paint. Or other combustible substances such as certain fabrics, wood, paper and cardboard, and plastics. It is essential to combat the risk of fire by maintaining order and cleanliness, in the different work areas.

Contamination by harmful or dangerous substances: uncontrolled or accidental exposure to harmful or dangerous substances can cause serious damage to workers such as burns, poisoning, irritation or other problems. Workers who work in the construction sector are susceptible to different diseases, some with more obvious effects than others.

Welders, polishers, carpenters, painters and operators of any type of machinery can expose to harmful substances. In any construction project, workers can suffer the consequences derived from contaminating dust particles and being exposed to different affectations, such as silicosis, bronchitis and dermatitis. This contamination can lead to a serious health risk, depending on the environmental conditions present in the workplace.

Housekeeping hazards on construction site
Housekeeping hazards on construction site

Why housekeeping is important in construction?

If we talk about safety and health at work, we must point out that keeping the work environment clean is essential. Any intelligent businessman with a minimum of knowledge knows that cleanliness in the company is a highly relevant factor. Having a hygiene plan and keeping the work environment clean and healthy is a key factor in the success of any company.

It affects:

  • The health (physical and mental) of the workers: of course a healthy environment reduces the risks of infection and disease. Therefore, hygiene is the most effective tool for disease prevention.
  • Productivity: a clean environment is essential for the well-being of employees, and favours a good work environment. When employees aren’t offered a healthy workspace,

So, organizations must develop a strategy that allows them to keep the work space clean, healthy and pleasant for workers.

Few of them are going to be willing to stay in a job that offers them a dirty, smelly and stuffy environment. It is your health that is at stake, and also that of your family. In addition to this, emotionally it also produces a certain heaviness and discomfort in developing your professional career in places like Housekeeping hazards on construction site.

Is poor housekeeping a hazard?

A large number of accidents in construction sites are caused by failure to comply with housekeeping basic rules in any workplace. The absence of good housekeeping cause accidents related to falls at the same and different levels, or shocks and blows and dropped object.

We have all encountered some time risk situations associated with the absence of good housekeeping. One of these situations may be the accumulation of surplus or unusable material. We also find tools and materials not located in their proper place. Improper collection and storage of materials. The presence of substances on the floor that make them slippery is also common. So, poor Housekeeping considers a hazard on construction sites.

Poor housekeeping hazards because it creates a chance of incidents such as:

  • Tripping
  • Falling
  • Slipping
  • Striking against
  • Cutting, puncturing or tearing

To avoid the above-mentioned hazard must maintain the good housekeeping

What is the 5S in housekeeping?

Housekeeping in the workplace is essential when seeking operational efficiency, especially in times of shutdown or maintenance. In this post, we present the 5S method the most well-known technique for maintaining housekeeping in the workplace.

The 5S method, devised in Japan more than 6 decades ago, continues to help maintain cleanliness and order in the workplace. Both components (cleanliness and orderliness) are also fundamental today since they prevent Housekeeping hazards on construction site.

In the workplace, when there is clutter, dirt or other unnecessary elements. Inefficiencies emerge in the processes in the form of lost time, delays, damage and even the risk of accidents. You have to eliminate all these interferences that cause these problems and maintain a certain level of quality.

The 5s methodology, what does it consist of?

The 5s methodology includes five key points that anyone should pay attention to maintain a job in perfect condition. Let’s look at each of the five points separately to avoid Housekeeping hazards on construction site.

  1. Seiri: (Sort) Separate unnecessary items

The first “S” translates from Japanese as “separate unnecessary elements ”. To do this, it is necessary to identify the necessary elements in the workplace and, once done, separate them from the unnecessary ones, eliminating all those that are not essential.

Papers, tools and equipment that are not used regularly and, in general, anything that is not used, must be removed from the site. Only what is essential for the execution of tasks would be left at the work site.

  1. Seiton: (Set in order) Place necessary elements

The second “S” promotes that, once you have the necessary elements in the position and the unnecessary ones have been filtered. It is time to place them in an orderly manner. To achieve this, a series of steps must be followed:

  • Decide the location of each element (closest to the place where each one is going to be used).
  • Put position each one
  • Indicate the assigned place for each element
  • Mark the corresponding place on the tool (in a certain drawer or shelf).
  • Review the system and avoid leaving something unnecessary inside and something necessary outside.
  1. Seiso: (Shine and clean) Remove Dirt

The third “S” invites you to keep your workplace and tools tidy and clean, which favours the work environment and helps to reduce defects or accidents and to maintain an optimum level of quality.

Housekeeping hazards on construction site
Housekeeping hazards on construction site
  1. Seiketsu: Standardisation

The fourth “S” advocates avoiding dirt and disorder through standardization and visual management and improvement of Housekeeping hazards on construction site. Marking faulty elements, fixing faults or painting work, taking photos and displaying them in the area, toolbox talk, and daily meetings are examples of Standardisation.

  1. Shitsuke: (Sustain) Keep Improving

The fifth “S” proposes the continuous improvement of the system. In the end, it is a matter of applying the previous cycle over and over again to refine it more and more.

What are the basics of housekeeping?

Housekeeping at work is a factor of great importance for health, safety, product quality and, in general, the efficiency of the production system.

  • It carries out the correct storage of materials (raw material, product in-process and finished product).
  • It has the correct disposal of waste.
  • Performs rapid removal of spills and periodic maintenance of buildings.
  • It also includes the control of spills or leaks and personal hygiene is promoted.


  • Place each object in a certain place.
  • Get in the habit of not piling things up or arranging them in any way.
  • Make a classification of the objects/tools, grouping everything that you consider useful for the same task.
  • Pick out and throw away anything that is useless or has lost its use.
  • Write down and remember when you lend an object, this way you will avoid losses.

What are the benefits of good housekeeping?

In the construction sector, the maintenance of acceptable levels of safety depends largely on achieving adequate housekeeping conditions during the execution of the work.

  • Accident risks are reduced.
  • The best use of space is achieved.
  • Good use is made of available resources.
  • Confidence is generated in clients, vendors and visitors.
  • Our performance at work is increased since the time spent searching for objects is reduced.
  • Safe work behaviours are encouraged.
  • A pleasant work environment is created.

How can I improve my housekeeping?

What method can be applied to order and clean a workplace? Separate those objects that are not useful in the workplace. Discard them or deliver them to the section or area that may need them. Sometimes it is necessary to involve people who have more experience and who can make this type of decision. Organize objects according to the kind of material and how often you use them.

The actions to be carried out to achieve the objectives of maintaining an orderly and clean are structured in different stages:

  • Eliminate the unnecessary and classify the useful.
  • Store and locate the material to find easily.
  • Avoid dirtying and clean right away.
  • Create and consolidate work habits aimed at favouring order and cleanliness.

To maintain a workplace in adequate conditions of order and cleanliness, proper organizing and planning of the work to be carried out on the construction site are essential.

In this sense, it will be essential to locate the workshop and storage areas in the right place. Transport from the waste generation area to its collection area must be taken into account. Likewise, the risks inherent to transport and storage tasks must be taken into account.

Housekeeping hazards on construction site
Housekeeping hazards on construction site

When planning and organizing the zones, it will also be important to consider possible interference with other tasks on the site. Reducing the distances between the origin and destination of materials will help when taking preventive and corrective measures. It must be ensured that the material storage areas are not close to the access roads of the means of transport.

Of vital importance will be the classification of dangerous products and chemical substances according to storage incompatibilities.  On the other hand, the signage of these areas must be adequate according to the materials stored and the risks of the work.

Basic guidelines for order and cleanliness

As we have seen, planning is extremely important to avoid risky situations related to Housekeeping hazards on construction site. However, as general guidelines to take into account to improve housekeeping in the workplace, we could highlight aspects such as:

  1. Eliminate the unnecessary and classify the useful
  2. Conditioning the means to save and locate
  3. Avoid making a mess and clean up afterwards
  4. Promote order and cleanliness

The application of these recommendations will be reflected in the overall state of the work in terms of order and cleanliness. For this reason, it must always be taken into account in health and safety inspections and technical visits. It will directly influence the level of accident risk, as we mentioned at the beginning.

It would also be important to take into account, along with the aspects that we have mentioned in this article, everything related to the specific regulations on waste management.

How do I make a housekeeper checklist?

Housekeeping Checklist

Section 1: Ground Floors and FloorsYESNONA
1.1Do you want to check the soil and floors of the site in this inspection?
1.2Are walking surfaces kept clear and free of debris?
1.3Have tripping hazards, including uneven steps, potholes, and uneven surfaces, been removed?
1.4Is rubble and trash properly removed and deposited in appropriate receptacles?
1.5Are the trenches covered?
1.6Are the ramps safe and adequately stabilized?
Section 2: Access and Movement
2.1Do you want to verify site access and movement in this inspection?
2.2Are stairways and hallways clear of obstructions, materials, supplies, and clutter?
2.3Are all work areas safe for worker access and movement?
2.4Are access routes generally orderly with hazards minimized?
2.5Are the access roads and sidewalks free of materials?
2.6Are the scaffolds free of debris and materials?
Section 3: Work Areas
3.1Do you want to verify the cleanliness of the work area in this inspection?
3.2Are work surfaces clean, neat and free of liquid spills and debris?
3.3Are work surfaces cleaned while trades are in progress?
3.4Are work areas free of excess materials and other hazards, such as incomplete jobs, that could pose a safety risk?
Section 4: Delivery and Storage
4.1Do you want to verify material storage and deliveries from the site in this inspection?
4.2Are all deliveries placed in proper storage?
4.3Is equipment stored in designated areas when not in use?
4.4Are storage areas kept free of unnecessary materials?
4.5Are storage areas neat and tidy?   
Section 5: Garbage and Waste
5.1Are suitable bins and containers provided on-site?
5.2Are bins and bins emptied regularly?
5.3Are the waste items disposed of correctly according to the nature of the waste?
5.4Is hazardous waste properly stored and disposed of?
Inspector name and sign:









Housekeeping has the key purpose of keeping everything in optimal condition. So that when someone needs to use something, they find it ready for use. Daily Housekeeping planning must be part of an action procedure that employees must know and apply. This verification and control task must be done with an established frequency.

  • A clear objective is to keep workplaces clean and tidy to make better use of space, improve work efficiency and safety and, in general, create a more comfortable and pleasant environment.
  • The responsibility of each worker is to keep their work environment clean and tidy.
  • Necessary material resources are made available to workers or located in strategic places to facilitate the tasks entrusted to them.

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