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Housekeeping is generally classified as good or bad  (poor)  housekeeping.  The term Good Housekeeping is sometimes loosely understood as simple floor cleaning or broomstick operation. But it is not so. It has a wider Cleaning including up-keeping of all industrial activities in an orderly manner to minimize the accidents due to improper planning,  placement,  arrangement,  handling, etc., everywhere in the industrial premises. In short, it can be explained as a  place for everything and everything in its proper place. It pays attention to removing all unsafe conditions in the plant and thereby increasing safety and productivity.

Housekeeping is not just a need-based cleaning. It is more than that. In addition to regular daily cleanliness,  it includes an orderly arrangement of tools,  equipment,  materials, and process flow.  It is an integral part of industrial activity that reduces accidents, increases cleanliness, attractiveness, and comfort, production, and improves employee morale and public relations.

The bigger place than a temple, church, mosque, or gurudwara is the place a man works, what better place he needs to show his faith than his place of work.”(Jawaharlal Nehru).

Safety and good housekeeping:

  • Good house keeping is taking care of your work place and doing it constantly, so that you have a safe, clean and congenial place to work in.
  • Keep your floors free of spills and leaks. Store chemicals in stable racks in clearly marked containers, kept in designated areas. Label them according to recommended procedures. Clean up immediately in case of spills. Chemicals can react with other substances and lead to an accident.
  • Good house keeping ensures that machines are cleaned, lubricated and maintained properly, and stocks, parts and tools are always available at their assigned places. This reduces time loss in locating things, every now and then.
  • Yes, good house keeping builds efficiency. Regardless of the nature of your work you’ll find that it makes your job safer, easier and better. It also pays dividends in terms of pleasure, lighter and faster work.

The causes contributing the maximum accidents are:

  1. Stepping on or striking against objects.
  2. Handling goods or articles.
  3. Struck by falling bodies.
  4. Persons falling from height.
  5. Persons slipping on floor.
  6. Use of hand tools, and
  7. Other miscellaneous causes.

It is to be remembered that about 60% of accidents occur due to poor housekeeping.

Accidents due to poor housekeeping:

Striking against or falling over machine parts, materials or other obstructions left lying in passageways, cuts from objects left protruding from benches and especially on construction sites, punctures by nail protruding from objects or lying any where, falls on floors left slippery, greasy or damp, badly stacked materials, fires due to accumulation of combustible wastes or leakage of flammable materials, cabinet drawers left open, dangerous dust or chemicals on floors and not cleaned quickly, congested aisles, no toe-guards or handrails, overload waste containers, broken lockers or washrooms, dirty and unsafe walls, ceiling and windows, dust on bearings of machines, tool left on machines or walkways, poor lighting, unsafe handling of chemicals, spillage of oil, grease, acid etc. on floors, pipes of air, water, steam and oil not properly maintained, no marking of safety and traffic signs, signals, loose or unsafe wiring etc. these should be the targets of planning for good housekeeping.

Keys to good housekeeping :

  1. Cleanliness of floors, buildings and equipments.
  2. Proper and speedy disposal of scraps, waste and surplus material.
  3. Keeping each object in its designated place and returning after work.
  4. Sufficient work areas, exits, walkways, aisles etc.
  5. Orderly arrangement of material, process, machine, tool and equipment.
  6. Good lighting, co-lour and ventilation.

Disposal of scraps and other trade wastes:

  • This is the major part of good housekeeping.
  • Estimation of probable wastes in advance and planning for suitable means of their collection and disposal in the most economical and efficient way is desirable.
  • Separate sweeping service, sweepers with equipment, waste and scrap replaces with cover, overflow pans, chip screens, chip catchers, chutes, exhaust and dust collection systems, drain for liquid splash, vacuum cleaners, waste containers, methods of their transport and disposal, schedules of daily, weekly and special cleaning need attention.
  • Workers are responsible for pick up scrap, spoiled work, refuge, processed parts or tools off the floor.
  • Hazardous waste should be disposed of with care.
  • Fire hazards of combustible waste should be prevented.
  • Chemical wastes should be rendered harmless before being disposed or dumped.
  • Strong acids should be neutralized and not poured in open.
  • Poisonous materials, explosives, radioactive waste require special procedures for safe disposal.
  • Workers should be trained for safe disposal.

Prevention of spillage:

  1. Oil, coolant, water and chemical splashes on floors are routine phenomena in industries. If they are not cleaned properly and quickly, may cause slips, falls, burns etc.
  2. If the chemical is flammable, explosive, reactive or toxic, additional danger is added.
  3. The effort should start from the design of appropriate floor viz. acid proof lining, rubber lining etc., drainage system for flow collection, covering on gutters, splash guards, drip pans etc.
  4. Damage to floors or such devices should be repaired immediately. Appropriate neutralizers like lime, soda, sand etc. and absorbers should be used.
  5. Workers should be trained to remove such spillage as early as possible.

Marking of aisles and other locations:

  • The aisles, passages, internal roads, stairs, ramps and working platforms cause accidents due to improper marking.
  • They must be properly marked, equipped with necessary handrails, footholds, fencing, and lighting etc.
  • Marking and up keeping of other locations such as loading-unloading, receiving –dispatch points, parking area, store area, electrical switch yard, tool room, rest room, lunch room, sanitary block, washing center, drinking water center, first-aid center, assembly points, emergency equipment points, environment monitoring points, effluent points, scrubbers, dust bins, waste collection centers, dumping yard, scrap yard, storage tank etc., are necessary for good house keeping.

Colors as an aid to good housekeeping:

  • Proper color selection for walls, ceiling, passage ways, machines, piping, railings, fencing, guards, boundaries, fire equipment, lifting machines, warning signs, danger zones etc., play vital role in improving house keeping and safety.
  • Bright colored lines (e.g. zebra strips) can be used for pedestrian crossing. Yellow strip should be marked on the edge of level difference.
  • Statutory or IS for color code, should be followed.

Housekeeping contests:

  • Interdepartmental contest stimulates the interest in maintaining good house keeping.
  • Committees are formed to inspect departments. Representative from the different departments are nominated/co-opted by safety department/safety committee.
  • Inspection can be made regular by making it monthly. The visit may be announced or un-announced, depend on the committee decision.
  • An award system may be initiated to raise competition among the departments, which ultimately benefit towards maintaining good housekeeping.

Cleaning methods:

  • Cleaning methods are cleaning by broom or brushes, vacuum cleaning, washing by water or steam, air-jet cleaning, super sucker to suck spillage, blockade or choking etc.
  • Broomstick cleaning is useful for limited area and where not much dust is accumulated. Air-jet cleaning is not desirable in open space. Brushes are useful to clean sticky material. Wire brushes are used to clean hard metal surfaces or deposits.
  • Trolley mounted portable cleaning device is available to clean floors, walls, vessels, storage vessels, machine tools, construction machinery, factory shade etc.

Employee assignment:

  • It is managements responsibility to assign sufficient employees to carryout routine daily housekeeping job.
  • Depending on number of latrines, urinals, bathrooms, washing facilities, canteen, rest rooms, lunch room, medical center and size of work areas, compounds, roads, go downs etc., sufficient number of employees should be allotted for housekeeping work.
  • Housekeeping is everybody’s job should be the concept. ‘work is worship’ is not a slogan only.

Inspection & c hecklists :

S.No. (A)Orderliness & cleanlinessOut of marksecuredCross-reference of a letter datedDeficiency observed set rightremarks  
1Condition of the working floor, door, window, walls, structures, etc.20    
2Stairways, ladders, platforms, railings, working tables, racks, etc.  5    
3Maintenance of machines area.  15    
4Pits drain, washbasins, drinking water points, etc.  5    
5Spillage, leakage, scrap, garbage  15    
6Materials stacked properly or not, badly blocked the passage.10    

Details of good house keeping inspection norms :

(A). orderliness & cleanliness

  1. condition of working floors, doors, windows, walls, structures etc.
  • Slippery, oily, dusty, etc.
  • Not swept
  • Dislocated
  • Opening on the floor.
  • Marking of path way.
  • Broken
  • Structures cleaned & painted or not
  • Rusting of structures.
  • Doors / windows pan damaged / missing.

2. Stairways, ladders, platforms, railings, working table, racks etc.

  • Not cleaned.
  • Broken.
  • Railing, toe-guard, hand rail post not provided.

3.Machines & machines area.

  • Not cleaned & painted.
  • Safety device kept inoperative.
  • Accessories not in order.
  • Surrounding area of machine cleaned or not.

4. Pits, Drains, Washbasins, Drinking water points, etc.

  • Not cleaned
  • Drain not covered.
  • Pits not covered / barricaded.
  • Broken.

5.Spillage, leakage, scrap & garbage

  • Spillage / leakage of solid, liquid & gas form, machines, pipelines, valves, chutes, bunkers, containers, storage tank etc.
  • Spilled materials not collected / removed.
  • Scraps rejections and garbage kept at several places.
  • Spillage container, garbage bin not provided.
  • Old parts left at site after changing.
  • Empty containers / jars / bags not disposed from site.


  • Materials stacked properly or not.
  • Walkways, entrance / exit / switch board / fire point / hydrant point’s passage kept blocked.
  • Staircase / ladder landing passages kept blocked.
  • Stacking norms maintained or not.
  • Unwanted materials segregated and removed or not..

(B). Other parameters

1. Maintenance of first aid box, fire points, hydrant points.

  • First aid box and fire extinguishers kept cleaned or not.
  • First aid materials available in the box or not.
  • Fire extinguishers inspection due date over or not.
  • Fire points and hydrant point’s passage kept clear or not.
  • Sand / water available in the fire bucket or not.
  • Sand kept in sand bin or not.

2. Guarding of equipment, condition of fans, blowers, hand, and electric power tools, electrical installations, etc.

  1. All moving parts and transmission machineries guarded or not.
  2. Fan, blower and portable electric tools connected properly or not
  3. Fans and blowers guard is proper or not.
  4. Handles fitted with hand tools or not.
  5. Whether hand tools worn out or broken.
  6. Service cable of portable electric tools is correct or not.
  7. Switch board / panel board door closed or not
  8. Motor cooling impeller cover / motor terminal cover fitted or not.
  9. Fan and blower working or not.
  10. Naked cables left at works.


  • Cleaned or not.
  • Readable or not.
  • Obsolete boards and posters removed or not
  • Safety campaign board maintained or not.
  • Required safety boards (emergency phone numbers, First aides and fire fighters name board) displayed or not.
  • Vital equipments Do’s and Don’ts board displayed or not.

Benefits of house keeping:

  1. It provides routine support to safety & health.
  2. Accidents are eliminated.
  3. Ensure regular maintenance and increase overall safety and productivity.
  4. It enhances morals of employees due to clean, hygienic and safe environmental conditions.
  5. It boost up workmanship due to machines, tools, and equipment in clean condition.
  6. Jobs run smoothly and give good results when tools are placed in orderly manner.
  7. Clean and well maintained floors, stairs, walkways, doors, windows, lifts, latrines, urinals, washing facilities, furniture, records, dresses, first-aid and protective equipments and proper layout of materials, tools and process flow certainly avoid many accidents.
  8. Minimization of hazards are possible due to constant monitoring and control of hazardous chemicals, their processes and emissions.
  9. Access to machines and equipment for cleaning and maintenance purpose due to availability of proper floor space.
  10. Sophisticated equipments, and personal protective equipments give better life/results.
  11. Accidents due to striking against objects, falling, caught between the objects etc. are controlled.
  12. Wastage of time in locating tools etc. are controlled and increases efficiency.
  13. Loss of control, damage of property reduces because of orderliness in work.
  14. Better capacity utilization due to conservation of materials/property/energy and reduction of scrap, spillage and spoilage.
  15. Loss of costly items is reduced due to proper placement and maintaining order.
  16. Fires are controlled to a great extent due to maintenance of good housekeeping.
  17. Reduction in values of materials and machines are less when properly maintained.
  18. Overall life is increased due to maintenance of good housekeeping.
  19. Operation cost reduces by ell maintenance of the plant through good housekeeping.
  20. Government authorities, outside visitors and all are attracted and overall image of the company rises up.

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