Toolbox Talk: Housekeeping

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CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

The CPWR Toolbox Talk on Housekeeping addresses proper maintenance of materials and conditions. This resource includes a ‘real-life’ case example, steps to prevent a related injury or illness, and questions for discussion. It includes an image (page 2) that illustrates the hazard, which can be posted in a central location as a reminder of steps to work safely.   Click on the following links to access in English and Spanish.

CPWR Toolbox Talk logoHousekeeping refers to maintaining materials, work areas, and walking areas in a clean, orderly, sanitary, and dry condition. Bad housekeeping is dangerous at any time. It leads to increased risks, production delays, property damage, and higher costs.


Here is an Example

Sharon, a carpenter, was doing framing for a custom-sized space on the second story of a house. There were a lot of wood pieces, scraps, and saw dust that accumulated over the day around the saw horses, power tools, cords, and materials piles. When leaving for the day she tripped over some of the items on the floor and fell down the stairwell, injuring her neck.

  1. Name things that could have been done to prevent this incident.
  2. Does your work site have excessive quantities of lumber, debris, or flammable materials lying around?
  3. How regularly are materials organized and placed where they belong?


  • Keep floors clean and clear of waste.
  • Keep workplaces lighted.
  • Keep hoses, power cords, and welding leads out of heavily-travelled walkways or areas.
  • Keep materials away from openings, roof edges, excavations or trenches.
  • Don’t allow materials to build up.
  • Don’t block emergency exits, fire equipment, or first aid stations.
  • Don’t store chemicals and gases near heat sources or electrical equipment.

What Are We Going to Do Today?

What will we do here at the worksite today to promote housekeeping?








Graphic of a worker sweeping up sawdust under an electric circular saw.

  • Keep floors clean and clear of waste.
  • Keep hoses, power cords, and welding leads out of heavily-travelled walkways or areas.
  • Don't allow materials to build up