Whose Job is it? Housekeeping Needs Attention

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Construction Safety Association of Ontario

Summary Statement

Short article on the need for good housekeeping and the suggestion that contracts should spell out responsibilities, as should managers.
WInter 2001/2002

 The homebuilding project in the photo is a mess. But who's supposed to clean it up?

Waste accumulates fast on site--scrap lumber, broken bricks, packaging, pieces of drywall, garbage from coffee breaks and lunches. Construction rubbish tends to be irregular in shape, hard to handle, and full of sharp objects.

Too often site upkeep is not considered part of the job. In defining responsibilities, contractors seldom discuss housekeeping details. As a result, each trade expects the other to clean up.

Tender documents should spell out housekeeping responsibilities. Contracts should specify, for instance, who is to provide disposal bins and arrange disposal. Putting garbage in containers is not enough. The containers must be emptied. Access and storage areas should also be planned out and designated.

Bad housekeeping is dangerous at any time. It can be directly linked to one out of four injuries in construction. It leads to increased risks, production delays, property damage, and higher costs. In winter it poses a fire hazard when work areas are closed in and gas heaters are running.

For more information, buy or borrow CSAO's videotape Whose Job Is It Anyway?

Contact Customer Service at 1-800-781-2726.