Safety in Facilities Management

June is national safety month!

As a facility maintenance and management company, we pride ourselves in creating value for our clients based on the services we provide. Our top priority is the safety of occupants in each building we manage on behalf of our clients. One way we do that is ensuring preventative maintenance is completed properly on all components of a building system in order to reduce the risk of emergency repairs or hazardous conditions. Although this may seem like a small aspect of the business, preventative maintenance can ultimately save time, money and lives.

There are multiple types of building maintenance, but the main two ones are considered preventative and reactive maintenance. Preventative maintenance helps to reduce the need for reactive maintenance as it often finds and solves a problem before it occurs. It also helps to improve the safety of those in the building as preventative maintenance involves life safety systems such as fire protection systems, emergency lighting, generators, elevators, and HVAC.

Life safety is at stake if preventative maintenance isn’t implemented into the management of the property.

There are many systems that allow a building to function properly and safely. The fire protection systems, for example, include prevention, alarm, and suppression components – each of which can and should be inspected and tested on a regular basis. This goes beyond just checking the batteries in the smoke detector. The electrical panels connected to the fire alarm have to be working without issues or the alarm will not go off. The systems themselves require regular maintenance in addition to the testing to ensure the systems are ready to use in an emergency. For example, most industrial or commercial buildings are required to have a sprinkler system in order to put out a fire if one occurs. If the pipes are not properly maintained there is the possibility of a malfunction and thus additional damage to the building.

  • FM Pro Tip: Fire extinguishers need to be visually inspected once per month, have a maintenance inspection once per year and an internal maintenance inspection every six years

Building systems are very much interconnected. Maintaining one aspect of the building can often help to reveal or solve problems in other aspects of the building. For example, HVAC systems control the climate and humidity which in turn has an effect on the other mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems within the building. The climate in the IT rooms is essential to keep the data centers up and running. The temperature must be controlled in order to keep the water in the pipes from freezing and causing the pipes to burst. In large buildings the HVAC units are constantly working to heat and cool the building. If the vents are not properly checked and cleaned, this can result in buildup creating a fire hazard as well as reducing the overall air quality of the building.

An often-overlooked piece of building maintenance is the emergency lighting systems. This is your emergency safety net. When emergencies occur, this system come into play. They are essential to allowing people to exit the building in the case of an emergency. If the lights are not routinely checked, people won’t be able to exit the building in a timely fashion.

  • FM Pro Tip: Emergency and Exit Lights should be tested once every month and again annually.

Another crucial piece of building maintenance is having functional power source and having resources to generate power in the event of an emergency. Generators play a large roll in both these aspects. Most companies choose to have the generators maintained to save money in the long run which, but having these systems maintained can ultimately save lives. Without being properly maintained, a generator could catch fire or worse not preform in the event of an emergency. Spark plugs, air filters, and the batteries are just a few of the parts that need to be checked and maintained. Without this preventative maintenance, an emergency situation could cost a lot of money, and the safety of those in the building.

Elevators are also a crucial yet under appreciated necessity to look into in the maintenance the building. Regular inspections and maintenance are required because cables can get worn out or the electrical panels can fail leading to unsafe operations.

It’s important to have this type of maintenance not just for the savings and convenience but for the safety of the employees and all those entering and exiting the building on a daily basis. Happy National Safety month from all of us at ONE SOURCE!

Anthony Riccio

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