Facilities managers face a significant problem. The amount of funding available for facilities management improvements is decreasing, and this problem is exemplified by looking at the federal government ownership of lease buildings to the tune of $21.5 billion in annual operating costs, reports Nitin Bangera of Facility Executive. The costs of operating buildings are increasing, yet budgets are decreasing. Instead of trying to cut facilities management budgets first, facilities managers should reposition their departments as a critical aspect of better health and safety management through proactive facilities management, and becoming a valued cost-avoidance or “profit” center.
Health and Safety Risks in Reactive Facilities Management
When a reactive maintenance issue arises, someone will be necessary to repair. Depending on the failure and type of asset, making the repair could increase health and safety risks to building occupants. Consider this: 25 to 30 percent of all manufacturing industry fatalities in Great Britain occurred and were related directly to maintenance activities. Exact statistics for U.S. fatalities for commercial businesses that arise when performing maintenance are unknown, but the information from the Health and Safety Executive Agency in Great Britain alludes to a dramatic increase in health and safety risks following reactive maintenance. Therefore, the solution is to minimize the amount of reactive maintenance necessary to reduce such risks.
Benefits of Proactive Facilities Management
The benefits of implementing a proactive facilities management program extend far beyond eliminating health and safety risks of reactive maintenance. It is also important to remember that risks may still exist when performing preventative maintenance. For instance, failure to properly shut down a system before performing maintenance could result in an injury or other accident. Implementing the right proactive facilities maintenance and management controls now could greatly reduce this risk by ensuring systems are shut down appropriately before performing preventative maintenance. Furthermore, proper scheduling of preventative maintenance can minimize disruption to building occupants, particularly customers.
Facilities managers should also consider how proactive management approaches can improve team member satisfaction. As a rule of thumb, it is more costly to find, train and retain employees than it is to keep the employees you already have. Creating ideal work conditions, such as reducing the incidence of unforeseen maintenance, ensuring a healthy indoor atmosphere, preventing the risk of injury and handling all reactive maintenance needs immediately, lowers employee turnover rates. Proactive maintenance will also better serve cost avoidance by identifying data anomalies, estimating deterioration rates, simulating health and safety risks, and better predicting operational and maintenance needs, says Bangera.
How to Increase Safety and Health Through Proactive Processes
Facilities managers should also follow a few tips to reduce the impact of maintenance on safety and health, explains FacilitiesNet. These include:
- Scheduling unforeseen maintenance work orders for completion as soon as possible.
- Planning by knowing which vendors have been authorized and vetted to work in your facility.
- Prioritizing preventive maintenance, working unforeseen maintenance needs into the schedule when they occur.
- Performing additional safety and performance checks on facility assets when performing preventive maintenance.
- Connecting facility assets to the Internet of Things to track performance, runtime, and efficiency, which can be used to refine the maintenance schedule further.
Improve the Well-Being of Your Building Occupants While Minimizing Risk
Facilities managers must maintain clean, risk-free facilities. Reactive maintenance will be necessary in extreme cases, but the majority of reactive maintenance needs and asset failures can be identified and corrected before they pose a significant risk to building occupants. Increase the health and safety of your building occupants by contacting ENTOUCH online or calling 1-800-820-3511 today.