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Good Housekeeping’s Positive Effect on Profit, Productivity, and Purpose

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The United States the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that good housekeeping in the workplace not only creates a cleaner, safer workplace, but also promotes positive behaviors, habits and attitudes. However, to fully reap the benefits, the administration recommends that good housekeeping be maintained throughout the workday. This helps to avoid the physical consequences to employees that can result from poor housekeeping, like trips over objects, slip and falls on oily floors, or allergic reactions to spilled or improperly stored chemicals.

SafetySmart, a workplace safety training provider identifies two primary elements of good housekeeping: keeping materials, tools, and equipment in their designated places and frequently removing debris and waste from work areas which is especially important in metalworking, where large volumes of solid and liquid waste material can accumulate quickly and obstruct workflow areas.



The Risks of Poor Housekeeping

Manual removal is simply not a feasible or cost-effective answer to this continuous waste removal. During the period from October 2017 to September 2018, OSHA issued 623 citations for violations of the standard for general housekeeping (OSHA’s 19100022), totaling close to $2 million in penalties. The Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing industry was second on the list, with a total of 50 violations and $124,894 in penalties.

Good Housekeeping’s Positive Effect on Profit, Productivity, and Purpose Citations Chart |


In addition to the cost of citations, there are also other significant costs associated with poor housekeeping, such as worker’s compensation claims and personal injury. To counteract these costs metalworking operations should create a culture of cleanliness to maintain a zero-incident safety rate.

For most industrial manufacturing applications, the objective is to machine as many parts as possible in the shortest amount of time. In metalworking, this involves taking giant blocks of metal and machining them down to 10-20 percent of the weight and size of the original piece.

When you consider the size of the machines doing this, the vast amount of chips and turnings they produce, and the volume of coolant required, it becomes clear how fast open floor space can disappear. When that happens, a facility becomes vulnerable to housekeeping violations and the even costlier safety-related consequences that can result.

Many of the safety related consequences are associated with the manual handling of heavy, sharp metal scrap and exposure to metalworking fluids. The OSHA’s Metalworking Fluids: Safety and Health Best Practices manual identifies good housekeeping as an important control measure to prevent operator contact with metalworking fluids. Such fluids can cause:

Good Housekeeping’s Positive Effect on Profit, Productivity, and Purpose Health risks |
  • Irritation of the skin, lungs, eyes, nose, and throat.
  • Dermatitis, acne, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and irritation of the upper respiratory tract.
  • A variety of cancers—including cancer of the pancreas, larynx, skin and bladder.



Automated Solutions

Large volumes of scrap metal and spent fluids are a reality for metalworking operations. Handling them manually is neither possible nor safe. Making automated systems an essential part of a housekeeping program is the answer to eliminating dangerous, cluttered and non-compliant workspaces.

Outside of the obvious safety and regulatory benefits of automated scrap and fluid handling systems, this equipment can also help tighten controls and procedures, such as:

  • Keeping tabs on parts and materials.
  • Quickly and safely removing scrap metal and spent fluid.
  • Handling and recycling industrial wastewater.

There are several effective options for reducing scrap volume and recycling spent fluid:

  • Conveyors automate the removal of chips and coolant away from the point of production.
  • Briquetters compress lose turnings and swarf into near-solid dry pucks for easy storage, less floor space use, and recycling.
  • Vertical axis crushers and shredders reduce dangerous metal turnings and bulky wads into shovel-grade chips to maximize storage space.
  • Centralized coolant recycling systems remove tramp oils and suspended solids from contaminated coolants to help control bacteria and minimize employee exposure to hazardous fluid.
  • Tramp oil separators Remove free-floating and mechanically dispersed tramp oil from individual machine sumps, central systems and wash tanks as an additional safeguard against bacterial growth.
  • Vacuum evaporators concentrate and remove salts, heavy metals and a variety of hazardous components, reducing employee exposure to those components and reducing wastewater volumes.
  • Ultrafiltration systems separate organics, emulsified oils and suspended solids from process water, incoming water, wastewater and metalworking coolant, effectively reducing oily water volumes by as much as 98% without the use of chemical additives.

With any or all these systems in place, a shop can experience a number benefits that go beyond achieving a clean, orderly, safe workplace. Two of the biggest are:

Maximized Productivity

Maintaining equipment in order to avoid unnecessary downtime, repairs or replacement is a must in industrial manufacturing. Part of this involves a housekeeping program that incorporates a set schedule for regularly inspecting equipment and evaluating whether automated processes are in good working order and confirming components are clean and clear of obstructions.

Saving more space, time and money can be achieved with a proactive approach to the cleaning and removal of workplace clutter. By implementing a good housekeeping system such as automated conveyors, scrap processing equipment, fluid recycling systems and industrial wastewater treatment solutions, metalworking operations can increase productivity by limiting the time operators are required to clean or remove material.

When employees don’t have to stop what they’re doing to clean up scrap or replace fluid after every production run, an operation can reduce costly bottlenecks. In addition to reducing manual labor, automated systems can lead to more scrap value from the recycler when metal turnings and chips are separated and from fluid which can be recycled or reused for an optimum return on investment as opposed to being hauled-away.




If an operation avoids cleaning and organizing the plant or delays the removal of debris and other obstructions from work zones, it can expect to experience a steady decline in productivity and an increase in the costly consequences of poor housekeeping.

While there are clear advantages in terms of risk avoidance and deferred maintenance, good housekeeping practices have the potential to strengthen a company’s reputation, both within the plant and externally in the marketplace-which can be equally beneficial to the bottom line.



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