The workplace environment influences employees’ productivity, performance and well-being. No matter the industry, maintaining a clean workplace may help keep staff members safe, healthy and efficient. However, busy production schedules and increasing workloads may cause standards to dip.
While it may be tempting to put off dusting or other types of cleaning around the office or worksite, doing so may put employees at risk of suffering an injury or illness and may even impact performance levels. Maintaining a clean workplace is vital for employers to reduce their workers compensation claims and keep efficiency high.
Essential to safety
When employees work in a messy environment, they may not notice all hazards, which increases the risk of an accident. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an occupational hazard is anything in the workplace that may cause harm. An occupational hazard is commonly caused by neglect on the part of the employer or a lack of awareness by workers. When the office or worksite isn’t clean, it may increase the chance that a hazard will go unnoticed by a supervisor and staff members.
For example, if equipment is placed along an emergency route, workers may become injured if they trip or fall over it because it is out of place. If boxes aren’t stacked properly, they may fall on a worker and cause an injury. Employers may want to remember to keep the workplace free of debris and remind workers to put all equipment, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), in designated places to prevent an accident.
Crucial to health
Flu season is rapidly approaching and workplaces may see an increase in the number of employees using sick days if they become ill. According to Kimberly-Clark Professional, germs can spread quickly through the workplace if supervisors and employees don’t adequately sanitize their hands and their workspaces. Commonly used spaces, such as break rooms, can be hot spots for germs to accumulate.
According to Kimberly-Clark, break rooms have been found to have approximately 20,951 germs per square inch. Parts of the break room that tend to be touched the most, such as doorknobs, microwave oven handles and sinks, can be ripe with germs. Employers may want to clean these places on a frequent basis, and daily during flu season.
Another common health hazard of unclean workplaces is the germination of mold. According to OSHA, mold can cause adverse health effects for employees who are exposed to mold spores. Mold is a fungi that can release millions of spores into the air and can cause respiratory illnesses. Because of this, OSHA has strict standards employers are asked to follow to prevent the growth of mold in the workplace. According to OSHA, mold germination occurs in warm and humid conditions, making it essential that employers regularly clean worksite facilities, such as bathrooms, to reduce the chance of mold growth. Employers also may want to replace or clean indoor air filtration systems frequently to ensure any mold spores that are released into the air don’t reach workers.
As a result, a messy or unhygienic workplace may influence worker productivity. If employees receive an injury or illness at work, they may not be able to perform their tasks as well as when they were healthy. This decrease in efficiency may cause deadlines to be missed and additional errors to occur.