Housekeeping is not just cleanliness. It includes keeping work areas neat and orderly, maintaining halls and floors free of slip and trip hazards, and removal of waste materials (e.g., paper, cardboard) and other fire hazards from work areas.
On October 24, 2018 the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, as part of its investigation into the May 2017 Didion Mill explosion, issued “Call to Action: Combustible Dust” to gather comments on the management, control and understanding of combustible dust from companies, regulators, inspectors, safety training providers, researchers, unions and the workers affected by dust-related hazards.
The findings from this investigation were that Housekeeping represented the most utilized control of dust hazards, regardless of the industry or location. Yet, there was a repeated concern that workers are not fully aware of the dust risks. Respondents were concerned that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to housekeeping would not be applicable across industries, nor even in the same facility.
To read the full article regarding the Chemical Safety Board’s investigation – CLICK HERE
It was suggested that other industries could learn from the food and medical manufacturers, where the handling of dust is a necessity for quality control and contamination, as well as hazard reduction.
A Recap of Some of the Frustrations on Housekeeping:
- On the grain handling standard set by OSHA, “A singular focus on more stringent housekeeping criteria, e.g. dust accumulation levels, at this stage” “…the safety improvement record indicates that over 80% of the safety hazard has now been eliminated.” [49A]
- Housekeeping is often sacrificed for ‘more important’ maintenance items directly impacting problems. 
- Housekeeping is the main avenue for reducing combustible dust. “Our customers that do have a solid housekeeping program remain at the lowest levels of dust in their facility, reducing the risk of explosion to virtually nothing.” 
- “FDA standard for cleanliness during food manufacture require aggressive cleaning of the facility.” 
- “All too often, housekeeping needs are postponed until there is an event that draws attention to the need (i.e. spills, fires, explosions, OSHA fines, fire department inspections, etc.) Preventative maintenance is often perceived as ‘a lower priority’, ‘too time-consuming’, or ‘too costly’.” 
- Housekeeping is a nonrecoverable expense. Leadership needs to value housekeeping, fund and reward it. Field must recognize importance. 
- “Even when there is a health and safety officer at the facility who is cognizant of the dangers posed by combustible dust, funding is often hard to acquire for such cleaning projects.” 
At Ruwac we understand that housekeeping does not always directly translate to production dollars and that is why most facilities do not have a specific budget for their Industrial Vacuum equipment. We would like to help change that mindset by introducing both our general housekeeping vacuum series as well as our explosion proof vacuum series that are specifically designed for ease of use, longevity and durability to ensure that your dollars are spent on reliable machines that will also increase your production capabilities and prevent contamination.
With the new NFPA DHA requirements coming into effect SEPT 7th 2020, we understand choosing the right equipment for your application might seam overwhelming. Contact us here for a personalized assessment.
To read our blog post on performing a Dust Hazard Analysis in your facility – CLICK HERE