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Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Does Their Share?

"Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere; clean up clean up, everybody do your share!"


Whether your 5 or 75, you probably know The Clean Up Song. Even if you don't know where it comes from, you probably know how it goes and can sing right along. It's part of the lasting legacy of good old Barney.


But, on a lot of construction sites, it's pretty obvious that not everybody everywhere has been doing their share. And that's a problem for more reasons than just the obvious eye sore a messy job site is. It's downright unsafe, right!


The best way to ensure a clean and safe job site is to clean up debris as you go. Don't leave it to the end of the day. Don't pile it up out of the way to be cleaned up later. Before later comes that mess will be in someone's way. It's an accident waiting to happen.


As a contractor I take this very seriously. Not just for the others on the site that could get injured, but for myself as well. How ironic would it be if the guy that made the mess ended up getting hurt, twisting an ankle or stepping on a nail for instance? I understand that we're all trying to put a laser focus on our work. We don't want the distraction of stopping constructing to pick up our work area. But it's precisely so that we can focus laser like that we need to keep our areas clean. When we're focusing on our work we are more likely to not see that nail or trip hazard and get injured. It's ALWAYS worth the time to clean up as we go.


It's basically common sense how to accomplish our goal of top productivity while simultaneously keeping our work are policed up. Have a wheelbarrow there to put your debris directly in. Have a dumpster on site to accumulate debris without making piles. Keep a broom and shovel handy to make quick touch-ups just that, quick. If you have a helper, keeping your area clean for you should be at or near the top of their priorities list.


Have you ever been to Disneyland and noticed just how spotless the place is? Even with over 50,000 visitors per day the place is somehow immaculate. According to Showbiz author Jessie Quinn, "Rumor has it, Walt Disney used to watch guests to see how far they’d walk before littering. As a result, he made it mandatory that Disneyland (and now, all parks) have a trash can every 30 steps. That way, people are more inclined to throw their garbage away than drop it on the floor for a cast member to clean up."


Provide your workers with places to throw their trash, close enough to make it convenient, and most of them won't need a bunch of reminders. The reminders, like Walt's trash cans, will be right there, silently beaconing them.


Finally, keeping the site clean saves time at the end of the job. No one wants to finish a job by spending hours or days cleaning up a big mess. It's like the question, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Doing a little extra work here and there throughout the day isn't as mentally draining, and dispiriting as contending with a massive pile of debris all at once.


Barney had it right. Make clean up less of a chore and more just a regular, even fun, part of the day, and it's more likely to get done regularly. It not only works on others, I've found its works on myself too. Be like Walt and Barney. Life will be easier, you'll look more professional (you will actually BE more professional) and you'll be appreciated. Appreciated workers make more money and get quicker raises and promotions. Appreciated contractors get more referrals and make more money. Cleaning up isn't just a chore, it should be an integral part of our unique selling proposition (USP). More on USP's later...


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