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General Housekeeping Requirements

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29 CFR 1910.22

Requirements for Walking and Working Surfaces:

This OSHA standard applies to all permanent places of employment except where domestic, mining, or agricultural work only is performed.  Measures for the control of toxic materials are not discussed in this standard.

The standard requires all places of employment including passageways, storerooms, and service rooms to be kept clean, orderly and sanitary.  This includes:

  • Floors should be kept dry, or as dry as possible.If wet processes are used, proper drainage must be maintained to prevent standing water that can cause a variety of hazards including slips, electrical concerns and bacterial growth.False floors, platforms, mats, or other dry standing places should be provided where practicable to allow employees to remain out of the water and above the wet floor.
  • Floors should be maintained in good condition; Nails should not be sticking out and splinters, loose boards and holes should be repaired to make cleaning easier.Areas such as those just listed can allow an accumulation of loose material by inhibiting the effectiveness of sweeping.Loose material littering the floor should be cleaned up regularly since it can cause trip hazards and can also cause problems with maneuvering of forklifts and other material handling equipment, as well as fire hazards.
  • If forklifts, or other mechanical material handling equipment are used, then aisles, loading docks, doorways and any other areas of passage should be kept clear enough for safe maneuvering.
  • Aisles and passageways should be kept in good condition.Any obstruction across or in an aisle should be removed to prevent hazards.Permanent aisles and passageways need to be marked to prevent their use as temporary or permanent storage.

In addition to general housekeeping requirements, this standard also has provisions which require that covers and/or guardrails must be provided to protect employees from any open pits, tanks, vats, ditches or other similar type of hazard.

Floor loading protection requirements are also described within this standard.  The loads approved by a building official should be marked on plates and mounted in a conspicuous place.  If the plates are lost or removed, the employer must replace them.  The employer is responsible for ensuring that the loads placed on the floor (or roof) do not exceed the load limit.