Facility Dude

Don’t let healthcare facility maintenance flat line

By Amy Myers
Jul 14, 2014

Maintenance, Healthcare, Facilities Management

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Maintenance staff members in healthcare facilities know that keeping their spaces clean and safe could be a matter of life and death in some cases. That being said, if they take the proper precautions to stay on top of their building maintenance, they need not worry. By inspecting their facilities, FM teams can take the right steps in terms of cleaning and maintaining their buildings and all of the equipment inside, reducing risks commonly associated with the medical world.

Don't let healthcare facility maintenance flat line The Joint Commission recently provided a to-do list for healthcare facilities in need of some guidance when it comes to their maintenance tasks. Not surprising, one of the themes articulated multiple times throughout this checklist was making sure that they cut down on the risks of infections posed by equipment and devices used throughout hospitals, as well as by the surfaces of facilities themselves.

Slash infection risks

As you and your maintenance team members make the rounds, inspecting all portions of your buildings, you may want to pay special attention to pieces of equipment that present chances of infection, making sure you sanitize these components using the best methods possible. According to the CDC, when dealing with reusable healthcare equipment and anything else that comes into frequent contact with patients, maintenance staffs can employ a few measures that would prove effective in eliminating the vast majority of germs.

For starters, you could use heat - either dry or moist - to destroy microbial life on devices, equipment or areas of a building. Germs can't survive intensely high temperatures, which makes these sanitization solutions successful. If you don't have the machinery to steam clean your facilities, you may want to employ ethylene oxide or other chemical substances, such as germicides, to kill almost all of the bacteria and viruses present on portions of your facility. By doing so, you would be able to keep everything squeaky clean and reduce the risk of spreading infections.

Fend off fires

With microbial problems all resolved, you may want to move on to ensuring your healthcare facility is not at risk of a fire. Because there are a number of highly flammable substances used in medical treatments, you will want to stay on top of inspecting, repairing and replacing portions of your building's systems that could spark some major issues if left ignored.

The City of Seattle's Fire Department pointed out that fire prevention is crucial in hospitals and other medical buildings because there is not only a high volume of occupants, but also a significant number of people who are impaired, making emergency evacuation an even more challenging task. However, you and your maintenance staff can nip the possibility of fire in the bud by eliminating fire hazards.

One of the biggest threats is equipment that is in poor condition or is being misused. Offenders to healthcare facilities' fire safety range from old or broken electrical parts to something as small as jam-packed lint screens in dryers. The source pressed the importance of medical facilities conducted routine checks of their buildings and all of their equipment, which can be automatically orchestrated by maintenance management software. As soon as people pinpoint problem areas during inspections, you should make sure you send work order alerts to your staff through your CMMS so that these fixes can be made straight away, giving no time for accidents to occur.

In the event of a fire, staff needs to be able to respond quickly. You and your staff members need to know where your fire alarms and extinguishers are so that you can spring into action ASAP. Also, you need be familiar with equipment, like oxygen machines, that could fuel the flames and make a situation go from bad to worse, shutting everything up to prevent severe damage.

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