SATIB Advisory: Housekeeping

Is Your “House” In Order?    

A neat and organised workshop tells you something about the mechanic and equally, a clean and orderly operating environment / household tells you something about the owners of the establishment. It is a mind-set, a culture that is embedded in those that work in that environment. It suggests discipline, structure, attention to detail and much of this translates into good and healthy risk management principles.

So as the owner or manager of a tourism entity, be it a hotel, lodge, wheels operator or simply your own adventure guiding business, look to your “housekeeping” as an indication of the state of your risk management.

Prevention & Control

    1.         Tips for Establishing Good Housekeeping Habits

•                Establish daily, weekly and monthly cleaning procedures.
•                Identify cleanliness and safety expectations for all staff; for example, spills – particularly liquids spilled on the floor – need to be wiped up immediately. The focus seems to be on 'front of house' but please don’t forget a safe 'back of house' is key to staff safety.
•                Require staff to maintain a clean workspace as part of their performance objectives.
•                Establish a roster of individuals responsible for clean-up. 

   2.          Checklist for Employers

•                Clear debris and make sure that corridors and exits are not blocked. 
•                Supply adequate rubbish bins to accommodate the amount of rubbish generated on a daily basis. Don’t forget to separate and recycle!
•                See that rubbish is disposed of at least once a day. 
•                Store toxic and flammable materials in a secure location, and make sure they are clearly marked and regulation safety signage is clearly displayed at storage areas.
•                Minimize dust to reduce the potential for illness or allergic reaction.   
•                Store materials in such a way that they are not in danger of falling over. 
•                Do not allow water to stand and/or drip; this will prevent the formation of mould and mildew.
•                Provide adequate lighting.
•                Make sure floor areas that cannot be cleaned continuously, like entranceways, have anti-slip surfaces.
•                See that work areas are clean and orderly, and that spills are cleaned up promptly.
•                Make sure bathrooms are cleaned and restocked daily. 
•                Impress on employees the importance of their daily involvement in keeping the workplace clean and safe. 

    3.        Key Points

•                Watch out for slippery floors.
•                Eliminate trip and fall hazards.
•                Avoid waste accumulation. 
•                Eliminate unsafe storage.

Good Housekeeping is a way to eliminate many of the hazards often cited as the cause of an incident or violations of the OHS Act; blocked entrances and exits, sticking doors, slip, trip and fall hazards, lack of or improperly stocked first aid kit, cuts and lacerations from bent/protruding objects on walls/floors etc. Good housekeeping reduces injuries and accidents, improves morale, reduces fire potential, and can even make operations more efficient.


Q.             Who is responsible for housekeeping?
A.             All employees share the responsibilities of keeping their work stations and work areas free from the accumulation of materials. Additional responsibilities are often assigned to custodial employees or specific departmental employees.
Q.            When should housekeeping efforts be performed? 
A.             Housekeeping levels are most easily maintained if they are completed throughout the day as needed. At the end of the shift all areas should be thoroughly cleaned in preparation for the next day or the following shift. 

Q.             Is a written program required?
A.             No. The OHS Act does not require a written program for general housekeeping. However, there are references to written housekeeping procedures that may be applicable under other standards.

We trust you have found these risk tips useful. Please remember to share within your organisation.

For further insight contact André du Toit
(c):+27 82 446 1697