What are housekeeping and preventive maintenance?
Proper housekeeping and a preventive maintenance program are critically important in preventing injuries, illnesses, and even fatalities.
Effective housekeeping includes keeping work areas neat and orderly, maintaining floors from slip and trip hazards, removing waste materials -- including fire hazards -- and having a good workplace layout, aisle markings, adequate storage facilities and maintenance.
Preventive maintenance is predetermined work performed to a schedule with the aim of preventing the wear and tear or sudden failure of equipment components. This helps to protect assets and prolong the useful life of production equipment, improve system reliability, decrease cost of replacement and system downtime as well as reduce injuries.
What the law says
The Occupational Health and Safety Act, which gives the Government of Ontario broad powers to make regulations, sets out general principles and duties for the workplace parties. Regulations applicable to maintenance include:
- Industrial Establishments (R.R.O. 851/90)
- Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents (R.R.O. 833/90)
- WHMIS (R.R.O. 860/90)
- Designated Substances
Certain sections of the Ontario Fire Code may also be applicable to maintenance activities.
There are several regulations that apply to housekeeping that cover floor conditions, lighting, storage of flammable materials, storage of cylinder-shaped objects and barrels, fire extinguishers, aisles, exits, etc.
Contact your health and safety provider for the specific regulations that cover your workplace.
How having a well maintained workplace can help your business
Inadequate housekeeping and poorly maintained equipment can result in serious accidents, fatalities, damage to equipment, materials and production downtime.
Good housekeeping and preventive maintenance reflect a well-run business, and an orderly workplace. This not only is a critical safety measure, but it will have an impact on all who enter your workplace including employees, visitors, and customers.
What you can do
Integrate preventive maintenance processes and good housekeeping into your regular operations and inspect your workplace regularly to ensure that deficiencies and hazards are identified and repairs and/or changes are made.