15 Aug 2016
The A-Z Of Facilities Management
Air conditioning in the office can be a blessing or a curse and is a catalyst for many a disagreement in the office. Facilities will often arrange for air conditioning systems to be maintained. Without regular maintenance, air conditioning systems can provide an ideal environment for the bacteria legionella to breed, which can be a serious danger to health.
Workplace temperatures vary based on the type of work you do.
Facilities will usually oversee any maintenance, regardless of whether this is being carried out by a contractor or not. They also ensure any work taking place on your building is compliant with the regulations set out in the Building Act 1984.
No matter what sector you work in, your workplace must be kept clean to promote good hygiene and well being for employees. And, if you're customer-facing, your place of work needs to be kept spic and span for aesthetic purposes too.
To meet Equality Act requirements, workplaces must be accessible to everyone. This may mean Facilities building ramps, fitting handrails or arranging for the installation of lifts.
Do you know where your nearest fire extinguisher is, what type of fire it's for, and most importantly how to use it? We have four different types available on our online store: foam, water, power and carbon dioxide (CO2). Each has a different optimal use - for more information visit the product page for our fire extinguisher colour code sign.
Whether you have a canteen at work or prepare your own food to eat at your desk, we're all responsible to some extent for the safety of ourselves and our colleagues. Food needs to be handled carefully to avoid cross-contamination in high traffic areas like canteen kitchens.
Avoid cross contamination with colour coded chopping boards.
Ever wondered who wrote the various policies you follow at work on a daily basis? Facilities staff have a large input into the creation of these policies, and are well versed in new and changing regulations.
Health And Safety
98% of UK establishments have a Health & Safety document detailing responsibilities and procedures. There is often a designated Health and Safety officer in any business, together with First Aiders and Fire Wardens, who carry out these duties in addition to their usual role. Facilities are usually involved in the writing of H&S policies and their development as businesses evolve.
If you've been unfortunate enough to have suffered injury at work previously, you'll know it will have been recorded in the incident log or accident book. Keeping these records is not only required by law, but is also a useful tool for continuous improvement of Health & Safety procedures.
Unless outsourced to another company, your Facilities team will be responsible for the upkeep of your workplace's toilet facilities. But janitorial doesn't just involve cleaning. It's also important that enough facilities are provided for the number of employees in the workspace,
Commonly the most dangerous room in a house, but its' no less hazardous in the work kitchen. It's good practice to consider the layout of your kitchen when assessing the risks of slips, trips and falls, as well as cuts and burns.
Humans prefer natural light to artificial, but if the layout of your office doesn't allow for this, it's important for the well being of staff that they have enough light that they avoid eye strain, particularly when working at a computer, which over time can cause screen glare. The American Psychological Association presented research findings in 2012 as to how indoor lighting affects employee well-being and productivity.
Rather than asking what equipment needs to be maintained in a workplace, it's probably easier to list what doesn't! Lighting, electronic equipment, appliances, telephony systems, servers and generators should all be kept in good working order by Facilities so as to not disrupt the workforce in any way.
Your employer has a duty of care to you when you're at work. So, if you're exposed to increased levels of noise in your job, your employer should provide the correct PPE (personal protective equipment), such as ear defenders. Did you know ACS supply these?
Ensure your workforce has the right PPE for the job.
An incorrectly adjusted chair can cause lower back and joint pain. Facilities are responsible for the provision of office chairs that are fit for purpose, with all adjustable components in good working order.
Decent prevention of incidents is paramount to the safety of the workforce. Any indoor or outdoor hazards awaiting remedial action should be properly signed to protect employees.
Continuous improvement of policies and systems for optimal use and benefit is critical to the evolution of a business. The ISO 9000 standards are designed to help businesses meet their legal requirements, as well as the needs of customers and stakeholders.
Facilities may provide and arrange for the emptying of separate waste bins for different recyclable materials in the office. ACS offer a variety of colour coordinated bins to assist in separating waste, which you can find here.
Security is a diverse requirement for businesses for which many employees share the responsibility. Whether you're a security guard, receptionist, keyholder, or just required to shred your confidential waste, it's up to all of us to ensure our employer's business stays safe and secure. This also applies online - visit our security software section for more information on keeping your systems safe.
Do your security cameras capture all movement on your premises?
Travelling in a company car, you'll have a set of rules to adhere to. It's an employer's responsibility to keep a company vehicle fleet in good working order, and to provide any necessary consumables or sundries a driver may need, such as chargers, first aid kits and winter supplies. You can take a look at our full range here.
Utilities management is undertaken by Facilities and makes up a big part of running a business. From providing adequate lighting to ensuring the good working order of heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems, provision of hot and cold water and drainage, and gas systems if applicable. Some businesses investing in renewable energies may be eligible for grants or financing programmes.
Business insurance will often stipulate that all visitors must be logged, usually in a visitors book at your reception. Imperative in the event of a fire or fire drill, logging visitors is also handy when keeping track of average footfall, and can be an indicator of performance. Visitors are usually given a guest pass, which ACS can also provide.
Facilities may have provided grit bins outside of your workplace for use in winter. Outdoor surfaces become hazardous as the weather turns and ice forms. It's an employer's responsibility to keep their workforce safe in winter - when ice forms it's good practice is to grit early in the morning prior to the beginning of the workday to prevent accidents.
Protect drivers on your premises in winter by gritting road surfaces.
When Christmas comes around, the whole office likes to get festive and decorate for the season! It's important to follow any rules set out by Facilities when dressing the office - particularly when it comes to lighting, electricals and working from heights.
It's important to keep up with any issues that may arise with your office building, with an inspection taking place at least yearly; usually before the winter months and after particularly bad weather. If your building is in a high risk area (for example in the vicinity of a flood plain) it may be good practice to conduct multiple inspections a year.
Zero Carbon Emissions
Here at ACS, looking after the environment is very important to us; we recycle all of our waste, have energy saving lighting throughout our office, use a network of UK suppliers to reduce the number of miles that products travel to our customers, and buy all of our energy from a renewable energy provider. Aiming to be carbon neutral is a winning strategy for any business - there are a variety of grants available to help you along the way, plus you'll be helping the environment whilst passing along the benefits to your customer.
Why not take a look at our visual guide of the A-Z of Facilities - packed with products to make life easier for you and your Facilities team.
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