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K-State Today

August 30, 2011

Contain the clutter: Keep your office clean with basic housekeeping

Submitted by Lisa Linck

With all of the activity in the office, many times we may find ourselves left with a cluttered mess. Imagine the chaos that would result if workers did not clean up after themselves. Our workplace would become a hazardous obstacle course as garbage and supplies piled up, and walking from one point to another would mean navigating through a mess of obstructions. It would not only be aggravating and counterproductive; it would also be very dangerous.


Slips, trips and falls are a common cause of injury in the workplace, and inadequate housekeeping is a major contributing factor in most of these accidents.


What is housekeeping? Avoiding dangerous conditions like those described above requires a commitment to housekeeping by every individual on our team. This means making spill clean up, garbage removal, general cleaning and good methods of organization a priority every day, throughout the day. Good housekeeping also means constant vigilance. Remove any object or material that obstructs a pathway on the floor and take care of other materials that could pose a possible fire hazard or danger for coworkers. This includes:


• Power cords

• Empty containers

• Garbage

• Food

• Water or spills


Do your part. Follow these housekeeping tips to keep yourself and your co-workers safe:


• Never obstruct pathways with power cords, as they could pose a tripping hazard.

• Store personal items out of the way in your desk — never on the floor.

• Place “wet floor” signs in wet areas that could present a slipping hazard, and remove them as soon as the area is dry.

• Always keep pathways free of clutter and obstructions.


Risk not. When practicing good housekeeping, there are several things you should always avoid:


• Do not leave clean up for the last few minutes of the day; instead, take care of clutter immediately after completing a task.

• Never pile material around fire extinguishers, sprinklers or emergency exits.

• Clean up small spills immediately. Even if you didn’t cause the spill, help someone else avoid slipping by cleaning it up. If it requires more equipment then a paper towel, contact the custodian and stay near the spill to alert people to the danger.


Not only does housekeeping keep everyone safe, it also helps us feel better about our jobs. It will be easier to concentrate and do your best work in a clutter-free environment.