Industrial Housekeeping

Categories: HealthHouseHygiene

What is housekeeping?

Efficient production and a good working environment are complementary. The elimination of inefficiencies and accident hazards caused by unfavourable conditions in and about the workplace is essential in getting the job done properly and safely. The attention to these important details which may be overlooked when management’s attention is concentrated upon such amenities as good cloakrooms, canteens, rest rooms, recreational facilities, etc. is widely referred to as “good housekeeping”. Good housekeeping involves every phase of industrial operations and should apply throughout the entire premises, indoors and out.

It is more than mere cleanliness.

It requires orderly conditions, the avoidance of congestion, and attention to such details as an orderly layout of the whole workplace, the marking of aisles, adequate storage arrangements, and maintenance. Industrial Housekeeping Industrial housekeeping a place for everything and everything in its place “; it must mean more than painting aisle ways and sweeping the aisles. To me, it is that indefinable reaction when making -an inspection, that here is a plant, well organized, well kept, and on its toes in plant hygiene.

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For a plant to create this reaction on a trained observer involves a great deal of planned effort and some expenditure by management, and this cannot be accomplished either casually or in a day or two.

Scope of Industrial house keeping

Scope of Industrial housekeeping includes supervision of sanitary facilities, locker rooms, and the attendant problems of proper water supplies and sewage disposal systems, in addition to the usual cleaning and sweeping operations.

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Elements of Good Housekeeping

1. Men and machines should be so placed as to provide the easiest and most efficient flow of production. 2. Operations should be so located that the health hazards, possibly associated with one will not imperil workers on another task. 3. Structural and operational arrangements should be made to permit easy traffic of men and materials within the plant. 4. Adequate space should be allotted for the storage of movable equipment and tools not in current use. 5. A safe water supply and proper sewerage and sewage disposal facilities must be provided. 6. Definite janitor service should be furnished for the regular cleaning of sanitary facilities, locker and eating rooms, windows, lighting fixtures, and other parts of the interior of the plant. 7. Proper maintenance of all equipment must be enforced; this will become a relatively easy matter if the other items are carried out in a conscientious manner. Reasons for good Industrial housekeeping

A good housekeeping programme will:

* Considerably reduce the possibility of a fire starting * Prevent rapid spread of a fire and therefore reduce property losses * Ensure that exit and fire escape routes remain clear, thereby reducing loss of life * Improve accessibility of fire-fighting equipment to facilitate its maintenance and use in an emergency * Bolster productivity through improving staff morale since nobody enjoys working in a dirty or untidy environment Define responsibilities

Since the importance of housekeeping and effective waste control has been stressed, with whom does the responsibility lie? Clearly with management. Managers decide that good housekeeping will form an integral part of working procedures, and the decision must be conveyed to all employees first in writing and then followed up on bulletin boards, in newsletters or during face-to-face meetings. Every employee must feel involved and be committed to the cause. However, storage and working areas change, staff change and unless the housekeeping programme is constantly monitored, it could soon deteriorate. Key personnel are assigned to be responsible.

Delegate these responsibilities in writing – if not written down, they will be easily forgotten. While fire and safety personnel are intimately involved in the housekeeping programme, supervisors and foremen should be made responsible for the standard of housekeeping in their area of jurisdiction. If necessary, advertise the face, with signage, using names if necessary, that proclaims responsibility for housekeeping. Accidents commonly caused by bad housekeeping

• Tripping over loose objects on floors, stairs and platforms.
• Articles dropping from above.
• Slipping on greasy, wet or dirty surfaces.
• Striking against projecting, poorly stacked, or misplaced material.
• Tearing the hands or other parts of the body on projecting nails, wire, steel strapping on bales or crates, etc.

Typical examples of poor housekeeping that lead to these accidents
• Excessive material, waste or chips in the working area.
• Congested aisles.
• Tools left on machines.
• Waste containers overflowing.
• Lockers and workrooms in disorder.
• Acids in open containers.
• Broken glass.
• Electric leads or air lines across aisles.
• Dirty light fittings, windows and skylights.
Housekeeping guidelines

Three factors can be identified as being paramount if the general standard of housekeeping is to be upgraded and maintained. 1. Layout of equipment and production flow

Ensure wherever possible that sufficient workspace is provided. Work areas need to be demarcated, preferably with lines painted on the floor to show where goods may or may not be stored. Adequate space should be provided for operators, equipment and work-pieces within these areas. 2. Handling and storage facilities

Experience will dictate how much space is required for temporary storage of raw materials and finished goods at each place of work. Always aim to keep these to the absolute minimum, particularly where they are of a combustible nature. This will reduce the fire loading within the manufacturing area where most sources of ignition are present. Strict control of flammable liquids should be exercised and these should be issued to operators only in quantities sufficient for single production runs or shifts. Even then, safety containers and/or flammable liquid cabinets need to be provided. It would be most useful to detail an employee to collect finished products for return to the finished goods area and to draw and supply raw materials from the stores as and when required. This leaves the machine operators free to supervise uninterrupted manufacturing runs.

3. Clean and tidy premises

Each operator should be made responsible for tidiness in his/her own workplace. As they clean up swarf, cuttings, fluff, dust, overspray, shavings, etc it can be placed in non-combustible receptacles for removal by cleaning staff. Always appreciate that loose, thin and finely divided materials ignite readily. General guidelines

The following guidelines should be followed to maintain the efficacy of a formal housekeeping programme.

Cleaning materials

Use only non-flammable cleaning solvents and waxes wherever possible. Stipulate suitable materials and monitor what is used. Frequently, highly flammable materials are found in working areas simply because they are readily available or slightly cheaper. Avoid using sawdust to absorb oils or hydraulic fluids – there are other alternatives.

Dust and fluff

Production processes and product handling frequently generate dusts and fluff which accumulates on machinery, structural elements, pipes and ledges. Regular cleaning is necessary to prevent unsightly and dangerous accumulation which become expensive and difficult to remove. Sometimes ineffective or leaking extraction systems compound the problem so dust-handling equipment needs regular checking. Cleaning should be done by using industrial vacuum cleaners and not by blowing dust away with compressed air.

Waste disposal

The golden rules for waste disposal are based on common sense. First remember that waste accumulation is never necessary in manufacturing areas. Get rid of it as soon as possible. Large accumulation must be prevented – irrespective of manpower shortage excuses. Small accumulation should be collected regularly and placed in non-combustible refuse receptacles pending removal. Second, clean up after every shift. Make this a routine and third, appreciate that waste or dirty flammable liquids are just as hazardous as clean liquids. Liquids/solvents must receive priority during removal. If all the liquids are not used up in the process have them returned to the flammable store or pre-designated waste liquid magazine immediately. Too often excess liquids are used for cleaning machinery and overalls and waste liquids are dumped down drains! Remember too that when flammable liquids and people share the same environment, accidents can happen. Provide suitable absorbent materials on-site for mopping up spillages.


One of the leading causes of fires in South Africa, smoking materials frequently ignite combustibles where housekeeping is poor. It is therefore important to provide safe smoking areas for workers when smoking cannot be permitted at the workplace. If this is not possible, provide for smoke breaks, otherwise workers may smoke regardless of the hazard.

Exterior housekeeping

Many major fires have occurred because fires spread into a building via the accumulation of combustibles. Housekeeping should be as good outside buildings as it is indoors. Waste remov` materials are often thrown. Pallet storages, raw materials and the like should be kept away from buildings in vegetation-free areas.

Industrial housekeeping products

1. Reversible Drum Angel

The Reversible Drum Angel Vacuum is a maintenance free system to recover spilled liquids, coolant, sludge, tramp oil, waste water and other liquids using only compressed air. The compressed air system attaches easily to any closed head of a drum (30 or 55 US gallon, or 45 Imperial gallon or 205 liter drum). The reversible feature allows you to fill or empty the drum in under two minutes with the simple turn of a knob. The flow rate can be controlled either by a shutoff valve or regulator, or by the knob itself. 2. Chip VacChip Vac picks up dry or wet chips and delivers them directly to an ordinary drum. Chip Vac is used to clean chips from fixtures, floors and work surfaces of machining centers, lathes, saws, mills and other industrial equipment.


It is clear that good housekeeping plays an important role in eliminating unwanted fires and reducing losses. Now is the time to establish a formal housekeeping standard. Market the concept amongst all employees as aggressively as products are marketed to the public. Define responsibilities, monitor progress and arrange good housekeeping competitions amongst departments. Make good housekeeping a way of life.

* “A Practical Housekeeping Program for Industry”, Herbert G. Dyktor, American Journal of Public Health. Links

Cite this page

Industrial Housekeeping. (2017, Jan 04). Retrieved from

Industrial Housekeeping

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