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Oregon OSHA

Construction Depot

Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry

April 20, 2015

sweeping up worksite

Housekeeping: Keep the site clean

Consider this scenario:

A boom lift runs over a can of spray adhesive at a busy construction site. At the same time, a worker is doing a welding task on an open floor directly above the boom lift. A welding spark falls to the ground and ignites the vapor from the spray adhesive.

It's an unlikely event, but it happened. Fortunately, there was a fire watchman on the site who was able to extinguish the fire and there were no injuries. What's the takeaway message? Debris and other waste material increase the risk of an accident. Reduce the risk by cleaning up and disposing of waste on a regular schedule.

Test your housekeeping awareness.

  1. Do you regularly remove construction debris from work areas, passageways, and stairs?
  2. Do you remove combustible scrap at regular intervals?
  3. Do you provide containers for separating and disposing of waste, trash, oily and used rags, and other refuse?
  4. Do you use covers on containers that contain garbage and oily, flammable, or hazardous wastes?
  5. Do you keep aisles and exits clear and unobstructed?
  6. Do you make housekeeping a regular task rather than an afterthought?
  7. Do you keep storage areas free of hazards?
  8. Do you have a written housekeeping policy and do your employees follow it?
  9. Do your supervisors enforce your housekeeping policy?
  10. Do you know which Oregon OSHA construction rules cover housekeeping?

Of course, all of your answers should be "yes."

Oregon OSHA's construction rules that cover housekeeping include 1926.20, General safety and health provisions; 1926.25, Housekeeping; 1926.51, Sanitation; 1926.250, General requirements for storage; and 1926.252, Disposal of waste materials.



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But remember: the information in this newsletter is intended to highlight safe work practices, but it does not replace Oregon OSHA workplace safety and health rules.

For information about Oregon OSHA services and answers to technical questions, call (503) 378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, (800) 922-2689.