Safety Starts with Housekeeping

Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

A clean orderly workplace sets the tone for everything else. It creates an atmosphere that employees want to work in. It sends a message to visitors that you take your work seriously. Customers and vendors can see there is a pride in the quality of workmanship. Most importantly, everyone can sense that this is a professional and safe workplace.  Work areas such as the maintenance shop, livestock barns, and equipment / material storage buildings are typically used to the fullest extent, however a priority to maintain a clean and orderly workplace in these areas is essential to avoid falls, fires and many other types of injuries.  Checklists are a useful way to eliminate the hazards of poor workplace housekeeping. Here is a simple checklist that can be used to help keep your agricultural workplace safe and organized.

  • Workstations / workbenches are clean and free of clutter.
  • Materials stored in clearly labeled containers and in designated storage areas only.
  • Floors are clean, dry and in good condition.
  • Spills and leaks of any type are cleaned up quickly and properly.
  • Proper waste containers are located in easy to access areas and emptied regularly.
  • Oily rags are disposed of in covered metal containers.
  • Tools and equipment are kept clean, well maintained and stored properly.
  • Electrical boxes or components are free from dust buildup and cobwebs.
  • Electrical cords, plugs and outlets are inspected regularly for wear and damage.
  • Stools and chairs are tucked away so they are not tripping hazards.
  • Drawers and cabinet doors are kept closed to prevent tripping hazards.
  • Aisles, stairways, exits and entrances are free of obstructions.
  • Materials are safely stacked so they will not collapse or fall.
  • Fire Extinguishers are easily accessible and not blocked by stored materials or other obstructions.

Using the checklist on a regular interval (weekly or monthly) can identify waste accumulation areas, locations that need cleaned or organized, and can significantly reduced the risk of injury.

For more information about the OSU Ag Safety visit or contact Kent McGuire, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at or 614-292-0588.