OSHA Safety Regulations for Housekeeping

by Charmayne Smith; Updated September 26, 2017
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, provides regulations for industrial housekeeping standards. These standards are designed to ensure safety and minimize the potential of spreading disease. OSHA provides general standards for all industries in the OSHA Standard Regulations. Specific housekeeping standards for industries such as hospitals and chemical manufacturers can be obtained directly from an OSHA compliance representative.

Walkways

OSHA’s general housekeeping standards require businesses to maintain a clean and sanitary work environment. All hallways, aisles and walkways must be kept dry and free of clutter to reduce the potential for falls and injuries. Hallways and walkways must be kept in good repair and no protruding nails or splints should be present.

Chemicals

OSHA requires industries that deal with chemicals or hazardous liquids to store and secure the chemicals properly. Each container should be properly labeled for easy and accurate identification. The workplace must provide a hazardous communication program which includes material safety data sheets, training and proper warning labels. Industries subject to these standard regulations include chemical production factories and manufacturers, maritime and agricultural industries and food and liquor industries, such as restaurants and bars.

Pathogens

Industries that encounter blood pathogens are required to follow OSHA’s universal standards for protection and housekeeping. All pathogens must be treated as if they are contaminated with infectious diseases. The industries must have an exposure control plan that explains the strategies and procedures used to control and contain the pathogens. Employees must be trained in the plan, and the plan must be reviewed and updated at least once a year. The workplace must provide employees with protective gear and sanitizing chemicals to clean the pathogenic area. The facility must provide an easily accessible hand-washing station stocked with antiseptic cleaner and paper towels.

General Standards for Cleaning Products

Businesses are required to maintain a sanitary environment throughout the worksite. OSHA does not define required cleaning products for all industries, such as retailers, convenience stores and shopkeepers. But it does require businesses to apply "an appropriate disinfectant" to areas to reduce the potential of disease and infection.

About the Author

Writing professionally since 2004, Charmayne Smith focuses on corporate materials such as training manuals, business plans, grant applications and technical manuals. Smith's articles have appeared in the "Houston Chronicle" and on various websites, drawing on her extensive experience in corporate management and property/casualty insurance.

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