Creating a Housekeeping Regimen

Good housekeeping is important in any workplace. In factories with processes that create combustible dust, however, ensuring good housekeeping and workplace organization should be a top priority. To keep employees safe and processes running smoothly, a regular schedule should be kept for cleaning up, safely removing and disposing of the dust. Yet, whenever a new initiative like this is undertaken, it is often difficult to sustain.

Reliable Plant recently addressed how starting an important initiative like this can often lose its importance over time. “This generally occurs because the expectation was created, but no follow-up was established,” Curtiss Quirin, the director of supply management for industrial supplies for Delphi Corp., wrote.

Quirin recommends the following key steps when starting a routine housekeeping program:

  1. Pick something important;
  2. Involve your people;
  3. Establish measurable requirements;
  4. Make it visible;
  5. Set up an audit frequency; and
  6. Have the discipline to stay on course.

“Before any new initiatives are started, you, as the leader, must decide what is important and be prepared to stay the course,” according to Quirin. “The goal is to set a standard and change behavior.”

When implementing a successful change initiative, bringing about the required behavioral changes needed to sustain the program is not easy. But if leadership picks an important activity – like the safety of employees and the structural integrity of the facility – and develops the discipline to stay the course, commitment to the new initiative should become easier and, ultimately, lead to improved safety, quality and productivity.

“Inspection requires not only the creation of a standard but also the discipline to observe and audit on a regular basis,” according to Quirin. “If done correctly, it will help to create constancy of purpose and the development of a work culture.”

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