Safety is one of the chief responsibilities of every facility manager. FMs are responsible for the safety and well-being of everyone in the building, whether they're maintenance staff performing a repair job or simply a tenant using the space.
The first step in ensuring safety in a facility is identifying potential dangerous situations. Much like building maintenance, risk management must be a proactive rather than a reactive process. Planning ahead and addressing potential problems before they become dangers can save money and prevent injury and accident. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when overhauling your facility's hazard assessment.
Study your history
If you want to quickly establish which areas of your facility may pose potential safety hazards, start looking in the places that have experienced problems in the past. Reading through older accident or incident reports can clue you into which areas have caused injury before, as well as what may have been damaged as a result. Reading through these older reports can also help facility managers discover patterns, if any exist. For example, if a good portion of the accident reports on file involve incidents tied to the same area or piece of equipment, it could be a good indicator that there may be a larger maintenance concern at work, which may require a work order or a replacement. Safety Line also recommended talking to employees themselves to determine if there have been any near misses that may not have made the books.
Bring extra eyes
They say that two heads are better than one, and that's especially true when safety concerns are involved. When it comes to identifying issues that may pose a hazard to tenants, you want to be sure that absolutely nothing slips by your inspection. Tackling the initial inspections in pairs or small groups rather than individually can help. The more people you have combing over the same area, the lesser the likelihood that a critical concern will be overlooked. It may also be wise to consider rotating these teams throughout various areas of the facility. If people spend several days meticulously inspecting the same places, the familiarity may cause them to overlook details. Rotating the inspection areas can ensure that each team approaches the audit with a fresh set of eyes.
Record your findings
Perhaps more than any other facility information, it's essential that data pertaining to potential safety hazards be shared across the entire maintenance team. A CMMS is a great tool for this purpose, since it enables members of the facilities team to update their findings from any Internet-connected computer. For large facilities, or complexes that consist of multiple buildings, this flexibility can be a huge help in increasing the efficiency of hazard assessment.
Get everyone on board
Hazard assessment may be a specific maintenance task, but safety within your facility is an attitude that should be shared by everybody. It's important that building administrators and facility managers don't let employees and occupants adopt the view that safety is a separate concern that nobody has to think about unless an accident occurs. Ensure that employees are incorporating risk management into their departmental best practices across each area or department of your building. Getting into the habit of carrying out established safety procedures can not only help stave off accidents, it can also help keep the maintenance staff alerted to potential risks more quickly and efficiently.