You are correct to say that hazards in the workplace, be it office, workshop, or warehouse, could be controlled by following safety rules, but if you trivialize the practice of good housekeeping, the price may be painful. An organized workplace is a safe workplace, and a safe workplace is a
productive workplace. An untidy workplace is a hazard for workplace injury, exposure to health challenges, fuels fire outbreaks, and damages reputation.
Good housekeeping is an important part of workplace safety. It is a big deal.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) says: “Good housekeeping is evidenced by floors free from grease and oil spillage; properly identified passageways; unobstructed access and exits; neat and orderly machinery and equipment; well-nested hoses and cables; properly stored materials; removal of waste or debris from the working area; surfaces, including elevated locations, free from accumulated dust; and adequate lighting. Maintaining these conditions contributes significantly to lower incident rates’’. Indeed, a safe workplace is one with a culture of good housekeeping; It is organized – a place for everything and everything in its place, and it’s sustainable. It is not a clean-up activity after work, it’s an attitude expressed before, during, and after work. It isn’t a one-time clean-up done occasionally, it’s something you do that nobody notices until you don’t do it.

Poor housekeeping in the workplace is the leading cause of slips, trips, and falls. There are estimated to be 25000 slips, trips, and falls each day at work. They account for 25 percent of all workplace injuries and 15 percent of workplace death. That tiny piece of a pen, screw, or hand tool you allow to lay on the floor; that little spill of water or oil you don’t clean up immediately, may cause a trip, slip,or fall, giving you a bad day.  A cluttered workplace can not only fuel fire but can impede movement in case of an emergency. Many industrial fires are the direct result of accumulations of oily-soaked, and saturated items of clothing, rags, and other combustible materials. Fume and dust generated from the factory or workshop and not properly contained are health hazards. Machines not inspected before use may get you injured. Any workplace that takes issues of good housekeeping for granted often gets punished. Good housekeeping is a serious safety matter, and the practice must come with commitment.

 

The best practice for staying organized in the workplace demands that we follow an established safety procedure in placing everything in its correct position. In the practice of good housekeeping, the 5s principle is a methodology that guarantees safety, if engaged appropriately, in a workplace. The 5s stand for – SORT, SET IN PLACE, SHINE, STANDARDIZE, and SUSTAIN. This is not just another ‘how’ tool, it’s rather a permanent mindset that helps us organize, simplify, and work safely.                                                                                                                                        

Let’s consider the 5s in detail and demonstrate best practices with reference to the BOG’s Valve Assembly and Servicing Facility at the Lekki Free Zone, Lagos Nigeria, the state-of-the-art facility comprising of a valve assembly plant and servicing workshop, with various units working interdependently and delivering reliable and quality valve asset management and maintenance.

SORT: This entails separating wanted items from unwanted. Make a judgment based on what is required. Items may be recycled, trashed, or relocated to more appropriate areas. On a typical workday at the BOG’s valve assembly workshop, several wastes are generated from the various activities, and measures are in place to collect and separate waste- either to trash or recycle. Containers are provided in the designated work area for combustible and non-combustible wastes, chemical wastes, scrap metals from the machining and welding areas, and waste grits from the blasting activities (See Picture 1). Fumes from hot work and painting activities are contained by ultra-modern fume extractors (See Picture 2). Grits waste and dust are managed with modern dust collectors and recycling machines (See Picture 3).

 

Picture 1 - Waste segregation
Picture - Fume Extractor for hot work
Picture 3 - Dust collector and recycler

SET IN PLACE: Here we place all materials in the right position to enhance efficiency. At BOG’s valve assembly, we have a flange management system that ensures the flanges are organized in various ranges and sizes on the flange rack (See Picture 4). Disassembled valves are stored in special bins. Hand tools including mechanical, electrical, and instrument are put in their designated toolboxes and carts. Broken and damaged tools are quarantined in ‘’red tag’’ areas. Materials in the storage area are properly stalked and assigned an appropriate location with labels assigned (See Picture 5). Waste is disposed of properly.

Picture 4 –Flange storage on Racks
Picture 5 –Well stalked boxes in storage area

SHINE: This involves routine cleanup and inspection of the workplace. The areas and floors are well-marked at BOG’s valve assembly, with neat and orderly machines and equipment. Proper inspections are carried out on tools and equipment before use. When valves and actuators are overhauled, we often encounter water ingress, grease, or oil. Spills on the floor or worktable are cleaned up as soon as they occur, we do not have to wait till the end of the job.

STANDARDIZE: This talks about creating methods to achieve 5s. It entails creating expectations, assigning responsibilities, awareness communication, and documentation, all aiming to ensure consistency. At the BOG workshop, it’s our culture to have a routine checklist for all equipment; carry out periodic audits; communicate hazards; engage in daily toolbox meetings and risk assessments before any job’s commencement.

SUSTAIN: This involves creating habits that aid the consistent application of 5s. At BOG, Best practices and improvements are recognized; technicians are trained to run 5s audits; everyone is encouraged to communicate openly and suggest constructive criticism; self-discipline is highly encouraged.

Achieving a safe workplace and maintaining a culture of good housekeeping is everyone’s responsibility. You may not necessarily be the one to perform the act, but you can intervene to get the issue fixed. The 5s activities build the discipline needed for continuous improvement and efficiency in the workplace.  Always remember that good housekeeping is not just a workplace activity, it is a workplace attitude. It is a big deal.

Written by Austin Omobo
Valve Engineer


References 

Bell Oil & Gas Valve Assembly Plant
Safety matters weekly, safety matter weekly website, 31 January 2021,

< https: www.safetymatterweekly.com>
Sunshine school and development center,1st February 2019, SSDC-Good housekeeping OSHA Training

 https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Bsuo
Lean Production, Lean production website, January 2022 www.leanproduction.com/

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Aigbe Abohi

Finance Manager

Aigbe Abohi is a seasoned professional with almost 10 years cognate industry experience in areas of accounting, financial management, financial planning and reporting, budgeting, and operational finance.

Prior to joining Bell Oil and Gas, he was a General Ledger Manager at Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc where he was responsible for general accounting operations, financial reporting, suggesting, and implementing sound internal control procedures, designing standard operating procedure manuals, preparing annual audited financial statements, as well as leading and coordinating external audit exercises for various companies in the agro allied value chain. He had also functioned as a finance and accounts team lead in other organizations where he oversaw finance and management reporting, accounts payables and receivables, inventory, payroll as well as fixed assets management.

In his current role at Bell Oil and Gas, he is responsible for supervising the finance team, coordinating a variety of finance and accounts activities including general accounting, accounts payables, payroll and treasury management, financial reporting and budgeting amongst others.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Benin, and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

His hobbies include studying, sports, music, movies and networking.

EJIRO ERIVONA

Position: Assistant General Manager

Ejiro Erivona has over 20 years of international experience in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry. His expertise spans Business Operations Management , Business Development, Contracts and process management in the oil service industry as well as the Exploration and production segment of the Oil and Gas Business. 

He has managed key business divisions for various multinationals like Falcon, General Electric and Baker Hughes, working in various countries in Africa and North America, leading multidisciplinary and multicultural teams to achieve stellar business outcomes. Most recently, he held the position of Senior Manager, Operations at Nigeria’s Major E&P Independent- Conoil Producing Nigeria. 

Experienced in business startups, as well as new business generation, Ejiro has a track record of closing major deals in the IOCs, NOCs and marginal field operators in the sub-continent. 

He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the university of wales and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Benin. He is also an alumnus of the Administrative College of India ( ASCI) 

Ejiro has a “Black Belt” in people and change management and has pursued the same with great flair. 

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