The terms cleaning and good housekeeping are closely linked but have different meanings. Cleaning is broadly defined as the removal and proper disposal of dirt and debris, while housekeeping is keeping a place for everything and everything in its place.
Satisfactory levels of workplace cleanliness and housekeeping have been takeninto account by the law for many years. The Health and Safety at Work etc. The Health and Safety at Work Act requires employers to ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone who may be affected by their work, and to maintain the workplace and/or premises in a safe condition, which includes adequate cleaning and housekeeping arrangements.
Whilst the actual word ‘housekeeping’ may not appear in the Act, the The Health and Safety at Work Act imposes a duty to ensure that workplaces and/or premises are maintained in a safe fashion and that access and egress are also safe. Untidiness increases the riskof accidents, and a workplace that is untidy is unlikely to comply with the requirements of The Health and Safety at Work Act and other Regulations which apply.
Where a workplace is dirty, or is untidy with spillages, or debris, and where equipment has been left where it was last used, a number of hazards exist, leading to the risk of accidents. The most common workplace injuries are theresult of slips, trips and falls, together with the secondary effects of damaged equipment and the deterioration of the fabric of the building.
In addition, most workplace activities generate waste or use liquids that will increase the risk of accidents if they are not adequately controlled. The Workplace (Health and Safety and Welfare) Regulations require floors to be suitable, in good condition and free from obstruction, and that the premises, workplace and inherent furniture, furnishings and fittings must be kept sufficiently clean.
You should not allow waste materials to accumulate in workplaces, except when kept in suitable receptacles. It is accepted that the standards of cleaning will vary and depend on the use of the workplace, and in some types of premises it may be necessary to produce and operate a schedule detailing cleaning methods and frequency.
You also need to ensure that the cleaning methods used don’t create any additional health and safety risks , for example dust, fumes, and slippery surfaces.