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General good housekeeping is everyone’s responsibility, whether it’s at your brokerage or the factories, offices or business premises of your clients. It’s important to make clients aware that managing risk and safety in the workplace will help avoid injury, liability claims and business interruption. The South African Occupational Health & Safety Act has a specific section for housekeeping to promote a safe, clean and healthy working environment that reduces the likelihood of accidents and unsafe practices in the workplace. We look at the main benefits and focus areas to help you advise your clients on best practices.
The benefits of good housekeeping practices
Good housekeeping practices have numerous positive benefits, such as:
Fire safety good practice
Fire is a big risk for many businesses so highlight these scenarios to clients that can impact on good housekeeping:
How to safeguard employees
Employers have duties in terms of the OHS Act to ensure the safety of employees. Good housekeeping requires a systematic approach, training, proper communication and formalised systems, which are regularly reviewed and improved.
Health and safety management systems need to be embedded in all organisations and these are coupled with understanding all the risks within the industry involved.
Examples of some measures to ensure safety:
Ensuring safety of customers
Good housekeeping also impacts on the safety of the public, especially in the retail sector. Slip and trip incidents are numerous and can be costly, especially as litigations following such incidents are on the increase.
Poor housekeeping can result in serious injury or death to members of the public (especially to children, frail or weak persons), which is why business owners must ensure good housekeeping standards at all times.
Here are some examples that could affect customers:
Damage to property
While safety of people is the first priority, poor housekeeping can also increase the risk of property loss – for example if safety systems (like firefighting equipment) are not regularly serviced. Often access to such equipment is blocked by stock or other items, resulting in an inability to respond quickly, which aggravates the ability to contain a fire.
The lack of housekeeping often leads to increased hazard, because property that should not be near one another ends up causing major problems. An example, is keeping large quantities of flammable liquids in an operational or production environment. This adds to risk of injury, death or loss of property.
Since good housekeeping introduces good operational practices and discipline, it also usually results in better response to a crisis situation. Many situations, which have resulted in major loss, usually could have been prevented if proper systems were in place. Again, guide clients through the fire safety precautions listed previously in the article.
Good housekeeping practices could also avoid the following kinds of consequential loss:
If you would like more information on Santam’s business liability insurance, speak to your relationship manager or contact us. For more advice tailored to businesses, visit our blog.
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