Office Building Safety Measures
When it comes to office building safety, certain measures can be easy to overlook. After all, safety is not usually incorporated into the bottom line of a company (or real estate investment trust), but it should be.
This is because safety-related disruptions are very expensive. They include trips and falls, asbestos and other hazardous exposures, and electrical malfunctions. A small leak that is causing very minor water damage can ruin the whole electrical system over time. For companies that are centrally located, the lost business can be enormous, especially for a popular social networking site or other communications-type service provider.
The keys to ensuring that the safeguards are effective are having a strong safety program, ensuring that the presence of safety is taken seriously, and keeping safety training up-to-date.
The US Marine Corps has one of the best examples of a stalwart safety program. Every battalion has a Safety Manager (usually a Sergeant) and a Safety Officer (a Lieutenant or Captain). These marines oversee the battalion’s buildings while writing reports on all non-combat accidents and injuries, which are then compiled and sent to a Regimental Safety Manager (a Master Gunnery Sergeant).
By having a strict chain of command that is encouraged by the leadership of the units involved, the Marine Corps’ safety program is a model by which many private sector commercial and industrial professionals follow. The reason for this is because the program does not merely stand on its own; there is a presence of safety throughout.
Just as every building should have a safety manager who takes on the responsibility of the work as a full-time job, and then reports to a higher up to maintain accountability, this safety professional needs to have a regular schedule that he or she is maintaining so as to inspect the offices, hallways, and other rooms.
Additionally, those in the building should have the safety office’s information (see Ademco Office Security Solutions) so they can report issues as they occur, be it accidents in the workplace or structural, lighting, or other issues.
By maintaining data on the incidents as they occur, the potential for lawsuits, lost business, and other issues can be preemptively resolved, forgoing higher costs in the end.
Additionally, by having a safety person on hand, the building’s structural and grounds maintenance can be brought up to a higher level of quality, repairing cracked sidewalks, installing security cameras, and redesigning office layouts.
Most of this comes with experience, but some will come from proper training.
Regular Training – OSHA or Otherwise
Safety management is a real career and should be treated as such with certifications and professional training. While a full OSHA course may be too costly for smaller building managers, 8, 12, and 24-hour training courses in areas like:
- Respiratory Safety
- Confined Spaces Training
- Construction Safety
- Vehicle Safety
and many others can be invaluable.
For example, a building’s maintenance person may forgo using a respirator for years in spite of the fact that a safety manual strictly states that he must. When he is let go after three noted infractions, he may not only claim disability but also unemployment while suing for wrongful termination based on his race and religion.
However, these claims will be denied by the court because the Safety Manager has a file noting that he signed the form agreeing that he must wear safety gear, and acknowledging that he did not adhere to the building’s safety regulations, saving the company thousands of dollar in legal and other fees.
By instituting a strict safety policy, and empowering well-trained safety professional(s) to enforce regulations, buildings can be safer and maintained at a much higher level of quality. This will demand top rent and lease rates while also alleviating frivolous lawsuits and claims.