How is your Housekeeping? Keeping Workers Safe and Costs Low

Jun 10, 2021 | Workplace Safety

It is an unfortunate fact of life that injuries occur at work. However, it is up to each employee and company to ensure that the chances of injuries are reduced. Employees are obligated to keep a workplace clean and tidy and the employer to provide the correct tools and resources to effectively maintain it.

Employees are not expected to hand write letters as it is an out dated method of communication, they are provided computers and smart phones to conduct their job efficiently. The same applies to cleanliness in the work place, employees should not be provided a dust pan and brush to clean up the factory, they need the best machinery and tools possible.

Workplace housekeeping is the first point of preventing injury, workcover claims, long term illnesses, and loss of life.

Preventing Slip and Falls

Generally speaking, a floor surface is more likely to be slippery when it is wet, or some form of contaminant is on the surface.  However, from a legal perspective, there is a duty of care on the part of an owner, occupier or employer where a slippery surface contributes to someone slipping and falling.

Removing dust on a regular basis and preventing build up can reduce the likelihood of a compensation claim. 23% of Worksafe claims are related to slips and falls with the average claim cost being $7965. Safe Work Australia states that a slip and fall claim can easily be in excess of $100,000.

To eliminate the chances of a costly claim on your workplace, a quality industrial vacuum system can have a return on investment of less than 6 months. This figure excludes;

  • The efficiencies gained eliminating out dated cleaning methods,
  • Using brooms that disperse dust elsewhere and become inhaled causing further health concerns

Silica

Silicosis has grown to one of the largest OHS concerns in recent times, it is an incurable and progressive lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust

Silica can be found in brick, stone, cement, sand, quartz, grout, mortar, bitumen, marble, granite and engineered stone products. Many occupations are at risk of silica inhalation including stonemasons, bricklayers, tilers and anyone working in the mining, quarrying, construction, sandblasting or demolition industries.

VBR Law states that although a Worksafe / Workcover claim can cover many of the expenses of ongoing medical monitoring, it can be modest, particularly in circumstances where the condition is not causing any permanent impairment. A subsequent civil damages claim can see the plaintif being awarded $150,000 to $400,000. For those with more severe and highly degenerative illnesses, damages could reach $2 Million.

HEPA 14 filters are required for vacuums in environments where silica is used. The cost of optioning HEPA 14 to a Delfin vacuum is as little as $489. It is a small price to pay compared to the cost associated with seeing an employee suffer with a silicosis related disease, the cost of administering any claims and the potential of a $2Million civil law suit.

Combustible Dusts

Imperial Sugar in Georgia USA has been well documented as a case where the lack of housekeeping allowed dust to build up resulting in an explosion that resulted in 14 deaths and injuring 38 others. A federal investigation cited 124 violations and found that better housekeeping would have prevented any loss of life.

Some of the products used on a daily basis during manufacturing in Australia have similar combustibility characteristics including;

  • Milk powder and whey
  • Plastic dusts
  • Carbon based dusts – Coal, Wood/Saw Dust, Cord
  • Chemical dusts – Sulphur, Ascorbic acid
  • Food Dusts – Flour, Grain, Rice, Potato, Cocoa, Tea, Spices

Find the OSHA combustible Dust Products Poster HERE.

To prevent combustible dust explosions, good regular housekeeping with an explosion proof vacuum is highly recommended. IECEx is the international certification which Australian products need to meet. Australian Industrial Vacuum are Australia’s leading supplier of IECEx vacuums ranging from small single phase 40 Ltr models through to 3 phase 100 Ltr models

Hidden Dusts

Its not just the visual dust that needs to be cleaned, it is the dust that is not in plain sight that also needs attention.

During a combustible dust explosion it is the hidden dust that causes the fireball to expand and roll through a building. Dust accumulates on the building structures; beams, hand rails, ducting, conveyors, plus on the top of porticos and behind machinery.

Reaching these areas can be difficult and is often dismissed or forgotten by workers and their employers.

By using the correct tooling this can become easily rectified. Crevice tools and carbon fibre pole kits can reach in tight spaces and up to 12 meters away.

Ensuring correct housekeeping practices are adhered with the right machine and tools  on hand, expenses related to work safe can be eliminated, conscience can be cleared and thousands if not millions of dollars and businesses can be saved.

To discus the best machine and tooling for you business ensuing you have a justifiable return on investment call our team now on
03 8597 3376!

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