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Good Housekeeping

​This Tailgate Talk is part of the NLTAPA collection.

Poor housekeeping is the reason behind many workplace incidents and resulting OSHA citations and although proper housekeeping is a best practice appropriate for all municipal operations and work zones, it is often overlooked. If debris, clutter, and spills are accepted as normal, then other more serious health and safety hazards may be ignored or go unnoticed. Good housekeeping improves morale and productivity along with safety. Good housekeeping is consistent: “panic” clean ups do not improve safety.

Guide for Discussion

The following “General Rules” should be covered in any discussion on housekeeping:

  • Keep all waste debris in neat piles and away from the immediate work area.

  • Remove debris from the job on a regular basis.

  • Keep aisles, stairways and walkways clear.

  • Store materials only in their designated areas and label appropriately.

  • If working with lumber, bend nails over or remove from lumber.

  • Placed trash barrels where needed to eliminate food rubbish.

  • Keep tools and equipment stored neatly.

  • Keep extension cords from being across walkways. If necessary, run them overhead; same applies to air compressor hoses.

  • Don’t let trash and debris build up. If it does, make an extra effort to get it cleaned up.

  • When doing tear-off, don’t drop materials outside the exterior walls of the structure, unless that area is effectively protected.

  • During winter months, keep walkways clear of snow and ice and watch for slippery surfaces in the wash bay.

Good Housekeeping Can

  • Prevent minor injuries like cuts, punctures and slivers.

  • Prevent major accidents like slips, trips, falls and fires.

  • Increase job productivity by speeding up the movement of workers and materials on the job.


Good housekeeping makes it easier for everyone to do their work safely and more effectively.

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