Trends in ... housekeeping

Identify unsafe conditions and provide solutions

Housekeeping encompasses many different elements of workplace safety, including controlling and eliminating combustible dust; preventing slips, trips and falls; and following fire safety best practices. Here, Safety+Health focuses on three categories of housekeeping and shares what experts had to say to help mitigate risks in these areas.

Fire safety: Start with training

When it comes to fire safety, training is a good place to start. “Providing more in-depth training to those who use hazardous materials and flammable liquids enhances personal knowledge and proficiency to properly store, transfer, use and dispose of these products in a more safe and efficient way,” said Ted Ziegler, regional sales manager for Justrite. “Understanding applicable industry codes and regulations, along with the characteristics of flammable and combustible liquids, is essential to provide a safer work environment and prevent accidental fires.”

Ziegler went on to say that it’s important for employers to adopt certified safety products for their workers to use. Also, “teaching employees on why the products are in place and how to use them is critical to preventing accidents and injuries.”

Control combustible dust

“One of the most prevalent innovations in the way we control or prevent combustible dust hazards is realizing that we need to test the dust for more than just its explosivity,” said Andy Thomason, senior applications specialist at Camfil APC. “We often now include testing for mechanical ignition energy, minimum explosive concentration and dust cloud ignition temperature. These additional findings help in selecting controls and environments suitable for the explosive dust.”

Thomason echoed Ziegler with his next advice: Educate your workers.

“Workers should be educated on why the equipment has been put into operation and how it is designed to operate. Many times, workers will inadvertently place explosive or flammable items at the discharge of an explosion vent not knowing that a fireball and pressure wave will be discharged, igniting the placed items. We have also seen operators relocate explosive equipment from its designed placement not knowing that changing the location dramatically reduces the protection required.”

Prevent slips, trips and falls

First, take the time to observe traffic patterns and think about functionality instead of only looks when it comes to placing products to help reduce slips, trips and falls. That’s the advice shared by Sarah Waksmonski, technical services rep for New Pig.

“Placing a product in a straight line may look nice, but if most traffic makes frequent turns, then your product should follow that pathway to provide the safest walking surface.”

Her second piece of advice? Don’t miscalculate the cost of slips, trips and falls.

“Many facilities underestimate the true cost of slips, trips and falls,” Waksmonski said. “A good thing to remember is that the price of prevention is lower than the price of reaction.” 

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Foot protection
  • Safety tools/tethers/knives

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)