The office environment is more than simply furniture placement. The environment of an office includes issues such as cleanliness, order, and maintenance. Injuries in office settings often come about because the “housekeeping” of the office has become slack, or if an excessive amount of paper, products or other materials create a daunting environment. Cleanliness and good housekeeping can also reduce allergic reactions to dust/mold and prevent illness such as the flu or Norfolk virus.
Papers and materials are on the floor or piled precariously on desks and tables. In addition to the level of stress that accompanies an untidy office, the paper menace is a safety hazard in that it is highly flammable (particularly if stored next to an electrical outlet) and also has the potential of falling off shelves or file cabinets and injuring passersby.
Rest Rooms should be cleaned and sanitized at least once a day. Paper should not be permitted to litter the floor. Bath tissue, soap and paper towels should be available in adequate supplies. If desired, air freshener sprays or solids should be available; never light a candle and leave it unattended in a rest room.
Storage of toxic chemicals and cleaning supplies can be problematic particularly if chemicals are reactive if combined. Chemicals should be stored in separate closet or cabinet from cleaning supplies. Beware of chemicals such as linseed oil which can spontaneously combust.
Cleaning supplies should be clearly marked and stored in spill-proof containers. These products should also be stored above counter-level to avoid potential danger if the office has young visitors. The phone number of the local poison control office should be clearly posted on the door of the storage area.
29 CRF 1910.22(a) Housekeeping, General Requirements—Walking/Working Surfaces
OSH Answers: Caregiver/Housekeeper, Canadian Centre for Occupational Safety and Health
OSH Answers: Inspection Checklists—Special Checklists for Offices, Canadian Centre for Occupational Safety and Health
OSH Answers: Workplace Housekeeping—Basic Guide, Canadian Centre for Occupational Safety and Health
OSH Answers: Workplace Housekeeping—Checklist for Workplace Housekeeping, Canadian Centre for Occupational Safety and Health
OSHA Hospital eTool Expert System – Standards: Housekeeping
Housekeeping: Keeping a Clean and Safe Office Space Checklist