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Why Employee Training Needs to Be Part of Your Housekeeping Program

Posted on September 6, 2016

How much time do you spend training your employees on how to properly implement your housekeeping program?

Hopefully, your answer wasn’t “no time at all.” But in any case, it’s probably not enough. Here are three reasons you should add more employee training into your facility’s housekeeping program.

1. Training helps move good housekeeping from theory to practice.

This is probably obvious, but simply having industrial cleaning equipment in your facility doesn’t mean that facility is clean. You have to use the equipment, and you have to use it correctly.

Providing housekeeping training ensures your employees know when, where, and how to use different cleaning methods and equipment to keep your facility in tip-top shape.

Training also keeps employees from developing bad habits that might be making the problem worse. For example, in environments that contain combustible dust, workers who aren’t properly trained may use compressed air to blow the dust off of surfaces. But that just stirs up the dust, exacerbating the problem and increasing the risk of a fire or explosion.

Learn more about combustible dust fire hazards.

2. In many cases, OSHA requires it.

Some OSHA standards specifically call for employee training. The new silica dust standard, for example, states that employees must be trained on the following:

  • The health hazards associated with exposure to silica dust
  • Specific tasks that put employees at risk
  • Specific measures to prevent exposure, including engineering controls, work practices, and respirators

The third item on that list includes housekeeping methods. Learn more about housekeeping and the new silica dust rule.

Many OSHA standards also have requirements that must be met by a “Competent Person.” Training is one way of ensuring you have a competent person on site. OSHA notes:

“By way of training and/or experience, a competent person is knowledgeable of applicable standards, is capable of identifying workplace hazards relating to the specific operation, and has the authority to correct them.”

Learn more about OSHA’s competent person requirements.

3. Your employees want more safety training.

It’s true! Your employees want more training, particularly when it comes to safety issues.

This was a main finding of EHS Today’s 2016 National Safety Survey. More than half of EHS professionals said they wanted more training — for themselves, for employees and supervisors, and for contractors.

When it comes to housekeeping, doing it right can literally mean the difference between life and death. A combustible dust incident can result in many deaths very quickly. Silica dust is a slower killer, but a killer nonetheless.

Component manufacturing expert Ben Hershey wrote in a 2014 article for SBC Magazine: “Cleaning. It’s not sexy.” And he’s right! But it’s a lot sexier than dying or developing chronic health problems because of a problem that could have been solved with the right industrial vacuum cleaner. Once your employees understand what’s at stake, they will start asking for more housekeeping training. There’s no reason not to give it to them!

Nilfisk doesn’t just sell vacuums. We provide end-to-end support, including training, to make sure your housekeeping program is a success. Contact your local rep to learn more about how we can help you keep your facility clean and your employees safe.