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Workplace Housekeeping, 29 CFR 1910.22

Quick Tips  #138 


Housekeeping is a broad term that refers to the routine maintenance and upkeep of a workplace. Good workplace housekeeping reduces injuries and accidents, improves morale, reduces fire potential and can even make operations more efficient. Workplace housekeeping should be an integral part of every company's loss control program.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) makes reference to housekeeping in several general industry standards - bloodborne pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030), fire protection plans (29 CFR 1910.39) and walking-working surfaces (29 CFR 1910.22). 

29 CFR 1910.22

The general workplace housekeeping requirements referenced in 29 CFR 1910.22 apply to all permanent places of employment, except where domestic, mining or agricultural work only is performed.

Per 29 CFR 1910.22(a)(1) all places of employment, passageways, storerooms and service rooms must be kept clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.

The floor of every workroom must be maintained in a clean and so far as possible, a dry condition. Where wet processes are used, drainage must be maintained, and false floors, platforms, mats or other dry standing places should be provided where practical. (29 CFR 1910.22(a)(2))

Every floor, working place and passageway must be kept free from protruding nails, splinters, holes or loose boards, so as to facilitate cleaning. (29 CFR 1910.22(a)(3))

Per 29 CFR 1910.22(b)(1) aisles and passageways must be kept clear and in good repair.

Maintaining A Housekeeping Program

In order to ensure that proper workplace housekeeping is maintained, a continuous process involving both workers and custodial personnel is required. Housekeeping should be incorporated into all processes, operations and tasks performed in the workplace. Efforts should be concentrated in high traffic areas such as around stairs, platforms and ladders, around work stations and machines and in storage areas.

Each worker needs to understand that workplace housekeeping is an integral part of his/her job and not merely a supplement to work he/she already performs. And, as workplace housekeeping becomes a standard part of operations, less time and effort are needed to maintain it at an appropriate level.

Use walk-through surveys to recognize, evaluate and control the hazards that may be created by the lack of proper workplace housekeeping. These surveys send a message to all employees that workplace housekeeping is viewed as an important part of everyone'sjob. A survey checklist is an effective tool to track performance and to communicate successes and areas requiring additional attention.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q.   Who is responsible for workplace housekeeping?
A.   All employees share the responsibilities of keeping their work stations and work areas free from the accumulation of materials. Additional responsibilities are often assigned to custodial employees or specific departmental employees.
Q.   When should workplace housekeeping efforts be performed?
A.   Workplace housekeeping levels are most easily maintained if they are completed throughout the day as needed. At the end of the shift all areas should be thoroughly cleaned in preparation for the next day or the following shift.
Q.   Is a written program required?
A.   No. OSHA does not require a written program for general workplace housekeeping. However, there are references to written housekeeping procedures that may be applicable under other standards. The following example is taken from OSHA's fire prevention plans standard:

29 CFR 1910.39(b) "Written and oral fire prevention plans. A fire prevention plan must be in writing, be kept in the workplace, and be made available to employees for review. However, an employer with 10 or fewer employees may communicate the plan orally to employees." In accordance with 1910.39(c)(2) a fire prevention plan must include "procedures to control accumulations of flammable and combustible waste materials".



OSHA 29 CFR 1910.22

(Rev. 1/2013)

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Please Note:
The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This publication is not a substitute for review of the current applicable government regulations and standards specific to your location and business activity, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.

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