Housekeeping

Housekeeping is something we all grow up with. Some learn it better than others. On the job site, we all must practice good housekeeping because it affects safety and productivity. There are three main housekeeping issues: job site scraps, personnel debris, and tool organization.

Job site scraps are the cut-off ends of pieces of wood, lumber torn down that will not be used again, wrapping from lumber, empty nail boxes, and numerous other materials brought onto the job site that will not be used. You don’t always want to take the time to attend to this debris at the moment it is made, but you do need to make sure that it is not left in a location that would pose a safety problem,

such as in a walkway or at the bottom of a ladder. As you create the scraps, throw them in a scrap pile or at least in the direction of a scrap pile. Many cut-off pieces of lumber can be used for blocking and should be thrown in the direction of where they will be mass-cut later.

Whenever you have lumber with nails sticking out, pull the nails out if you are going to use the lumber again, or bend them if the lumber will be thrown away. It is easy to forget this, so be sure to attend to the nails while you are working with them and they are on your mind.

Personnel debris is the garbage individuals create personally, like lunch scraps and soda bottles. It makes it easier on your crew if you provide some sort of container near the lunch spot. You will be lucky if you don’t have to keep reminding your crew that they are responsible for their own personal garbage.

Tool organization can save you time and a lot of aggravation. With tools that are in common use by the crew, it is important to return the tool to where it belongs. If tools are not stored in a location where other framers can expect them to be, a lot of time will be wasted looking for them. When rolling out your electric cords and air hoses, keep them organized. If you have to roll out in a walkway, try to stay to one side or the other. If you have to move your hose or cord, and it is rolled out underneath someone else’s cord or hose, be careful that when you move yours, you don’t drag theirs (and possibly their tools) along with you.

Housekeeping is sometimes difficult to organize, but getting it right can be a big asset for safety and productivity.

Source: Reprinted from ASME B30.5-2004 by permission of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, all rights reserved,