Clean Construction – Onsite Housekeeping and Why it Matters

Working on a construction site can be a risky business and paying attention to health and safety issues is an essential part of making sure that you stay safe whilst at work.  Here in the UK we have some of the strictest health and safety at work legislation in the world and in recent years there’s been a significant improvement in the accident at work statistics.  This means that we have some of the lowest accident figures on the planet and Britain is one of the safest places to work.  However, there are still accidents at work, especially on construction sites so there is still work to be done on improving health and safety in the workplace here in Britain.  Working at height is one of the riskiest activities that take place on construction sites and falls from height remain the most common cause of fatalities and serious injuries. 

One area where everybody on a construction site can play their part in making sure everything is as safe as possible is housekeeping.  We’re not talking here about vacuuming and getting the laundry done – we’re talking about keeping the work site as tidy as possible in a bid to reduce risks and lower accident rates.  An unkempt workspace can encourage unkempt and unthinking behaviour on site.  If management turns a blind eye to a messy site, it’s giving the message that it doesn’t really care about the mess and this will have a knock on effect in so many other ways.

The tidiness (or messiness) of a construction site can have a significant impact on how people judge a firm’s professionalism and standards.  If a space is organised and well managed it’s likely to encourage a sense of pride among employees who work there and it makes sense that a messy and neglected space will have the opposite effect.  Neatness generates neatness while messiness leads to even more messiness.  For example, if you’re on a train station and somebody leaves an empty coffee cup on a bench, it’s not long until somebody else discards another item of rubbish.  However, if the station is clean and tidy with no visible rubbish, people are generally unlikely to be the first to litter. 

Keeping a building site as clean and tidy as possible at all times makes it a more pleasant place to work.  A clean and tidy break room is likely to remain relatively clean and tidy making it much easier to thoroughly clean on a regular basis. 

On the construction site area itself, rubbish left around is likely to be a hazard.  Piles of building materials should be stacked in a tidy manner in an appropriate place, rather than just dumped in the most convenient place.  Tools and machinery should always be stored in designated places and kept clean and well maintained.  Keeping a building site well organised can help reduce the risk of accidents that could easily have been avoided.

Poor housekeeping practices broadcast a powerful message to visitors and the enforcement agencies about just how seriously a construction company takes health and safety at work.