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What is housekeeping? 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, housekeeping is:

  • the care and management of property and the provision of equipment and services (as for an industrial organization)
  • the routine tasks that must be done in order for a system to function or to function efficiently

Why is housekeeping training important in the hyperbaric medicine suite? 

Effective housekeeping training can eliminate workplace hazards 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace hazards in a healthcare facility include exposure of employee or housekeeping staff to: 

  • Blood or other potentially infectious materials 
  • Contaminated equipment or laundry
  • Contaminated sharps and containers
  • Hazardous chemicals
  • Wet floors, and possible slips, trips, and falls

Besides meeting housekeeping requirements to prevent workplace hazards established by OSHA, hyperbaric facilities must comply with the 2012 NFPA 99 requirements. 

The NFPA 99 chapter 14 - is states that  A housekeeping program shall be implemented, whether or not the facility is in regular use”.

A. provides some clarity to – “ It is absolutely essential that all areas of, and components associated with, the hyperbaric chamber be kept meticulously free of grease, lint, dirt and dust."

The NFPA 99 2012 edition gives us further guidance regarding the required training for the housekeeping personnel.  According to NFPA 99,

The persons assigned to the task of housekeeping shall be trained in the following:

  • Potential damage to the equipment from cleaning procedures
  • Potential personal injury
  • Specific cleaning procedures
  • Equipment NOT to be cleaned

While the NFPA 99 2012 chapter 14 and UHMS Accreditation probes HBOM 4.12 and 4.12.1 mandates the training, practical experience has proven that structured, recurrent and documented training for the housekeeping team is time well spent. 

The responsibility of ongoing training and ensuring competency for clinicians and the housekeeping team can be challenging.  Staff turn-over, vacations, busy clinic schedules and the lack of desire to have “another meeting” are common obstacles. None of which however, are acceptable excuses to avoid performance of competency training. As we have seen on another blog article, Quality of Care Requires Ongoing Competency Evaluations. Regularly scheduled training should be documented for all participants, including the housekeeping team, and maintained in a Safety Training notebook in the hyperbaric facility.


The WoundReference Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy Knowledge Base features guidelines to promote high standards of patient care and operational safety within the hyperbaric program and other important tools. The WoundReference Curbside Consult gives you actionable, specific clinical and reimbursement answers from our expert panel in a timely manner, including answers on how to train your housekeeping team. 

For customized safety programs and other wound care and hyperbaric medicine consultation services, visit MidWest Hyperbaric


We thank Julie Rhee ScM, for style editing

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