The Cost of Clutter

Is it time for come spring cleaning? Find out why clutter can be hazardous to you and your coworkers.

01 March 2019

A worker moving a rolling ladder in a storage room struck a hanging item, causing it to dislodge and fall. The worker sustained injuries to her head and shoulder and was placed on medical leave.

In another storage room at the other end of North Campus, a worker stacked glass jars of oil on top of bags in a freezer room. Later that day, the jars slipped and broke, spilling their contents and requiring lab personnel to return after hours to clean up the space.

In a nearby lab, a technician was maneuvering a 4L bottle of liquid waste to make room for new chemicals when it slipped from his grasp and shattered, flooding the fume hood with liquid waste and interfering with an experiment that was underway.

Researchers & supervisors often stockpile equipment and materials to avoid the inconveniences and expenses associated with their disposal. Ultimately, however, the costs of an incident—pain and suffering from an injury, lost time, and research delays—may be far greater.

Here are three ways to improve storage practices and reduce the risk of incidents:

  1. Get rid of unused or broken equipment: complete an equipment decontamination form (if necessary) and contact Supply Management Services to request pickup

  2. Arrange for safe disposal of old chemicals using CHEMATIX

  3. Review storage and housekeeping practices monthly and complete this safety checklist

Happy decluttering!