Maintenance Sourcebook: A Caretaker's Manual

1. First Aid and Safety: Continue to Learn

by Dr. G. Dewey Yeatts

Every employee has the right to expect that he will be able to leave his job at the conclusion of his shift and go home to his family. However, every day six working men and women in the construction industry go to work, but never go home again (Construction Safety Council). They are fatally injured in work-related accidents. Safety really is everyone’s business!

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), job-related injuries and deaths are down 40 percent since 1971. This progress is wonderful, but any preventable accident is too many.

Simple weekly “tool box” safety meetings can and do prevent many injuries and deaths among workers and others who may be adjacent to work areas.

Since the national tragedy of 9/11, weekly “tool box” safety meeting topics have changed. Now, workers must be cognizant not only of their safety and the safety of the “public” adjacent to their work areas, but they also must be aware of suspicious activity, individuals, packages and more.

Construction workers (as well as the citizenry) now have a greater need to possess first-aid skills. We never know where or when we will be called upon to render emergency first aid.

The intent of this sourcebook is to disseminate information to college and university facilities professionals. First aid and safety training are dynamic topics. Industries from airlines to sports arenas now provide Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) for first aid response to medical emergencies. One estimate indicates that nearly 40,000 AEDs were sold in 2000, with that market doubling almost every 18 months. It is critical that the facilities professional continues to learn about first aid and safety to make certain he is providing the best first aid and safety equipment and training available.

Dr. G. Dewey Yeatts is chief facilities officer and associate vice president of Facilities Management at Murray State University in Kentucky.

2. Hazardous Materials Information: Developing a Knowledge Base Is Imperative

by Al Stoverink

The significance of hazardous materials information to facilities managers may seem obvious and, at the same time, overwhelming. We may tend to dismiss the opportunities and challenges inherent in developing and maintaining an effective knowledge base because of the complexity and volumes of text and data. However, numerous staff members in the facilities organization must be knowledgeable about various elements of hazardous materials management, not the least of which is knowledge of what materials are classified as hazardous. No area of facilities management is more fraught with liability exposures, with the possible exception of human resource management.

From the reference file of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) maintained by all operating units to the clean-up of a radioactive material spill in a science lab, facilities personnel are constantly subjected to activities that are highly regulated, potentially costly and potentially dangerous. The degree to which facilities staff and others in a higher education institution become knowledgeable and abide by regulatory and industry standards for hazardous materials handling is directly proportional to the level of cost exposure and safety risks absorbed.

Hazardous materials are a risk exposure on every campus and in every facilities operation. Information concerning how we manage such materials, even in small quantities, is a critical tool in managing that risk. Whether by training facilities staff concerning risk exposures and regulatory requirements, or by relying on a central risk management office of your university, developing a knowledge base of hazardous materials information is imperative for any organization desiring to effectively manage its risks.

Al Stoverink is director of Facilities Management at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.

3. Products and Supplies: Making a Smart Purchasing Decision

by Terry Conry

Facilities management is a labor-intensive service delivery industry. It is not uncommon for more than 80 percent of an operations budget to be spent on human resources -- wages, benefits and training. Add in the fixed costs of utilities, phones and service contracts, and it is clear that our budgets for products and supplies are strained. This budget reality makes it imperative that facilities managers get the best value when purchasing products and supplies.

There are several criteria that we can apply to help determine the value of products and supplies.

1. Does the product save labor?

2. Can the product be delivered in a just-in-time format to eliminate inventory costs?

3. Is training and education support available from the manufacturer’s representative to ensure safe and proper use?

4. Is the price competitive when viewed from a life-cycle cost perspective?

Facilities managers have an exciting challenge to deliver first-rate service at a competitive cost. Failure to thoroughly review product and supply options can sabotage your efforts to meet that challenge. Poor product and supply decisions undo all the good work of your staff. Morale suffers when people work hard but achieve poor results because of a bad product or supply decision.

Your operation is on a slippery slope to failure rather than success without good products and supplies. Recall the conventional wisdom: “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost...”

Terry Conry, Ph.D., is director of Facilities Management at Ohio University in Athens.

4. Chemicals and Their Intended Use: Providing a Clean, Safe Environment

by Nicole Goulet and Joe Wilson

Faculty, students, alumni and tuition-paying parents expect a pleasing appearance in residence halls, classrooms, libraries, cafeterias and other common areas. Choosing the proper cleaning products helps provide a clean, safe environment for everyone.

For floors, it is important to consider your cleaning schedule. For example, floor stripping is the most labor-intensive part of a floor maintenance program and, if it is done once per year, it is important to use a powerful stripper that strips completely the first time. It is also important to use a floor stripper that works well with cold water, because administrators often shut the hot water off in many buildings during summer vacation.

If your floor stripping and finishing cycle occurs while classes are in session, you may want to consider using a low-odor floor stripper that won’t negatively affect students and faculty.

When applying floor finish, choose one that is resistant to scuffs and scratches and provides a high shine. A two-in-one sealer/finish product also works well. Choose a floor finish that has slip resistance.

Also, don’t forget about the carpets. Carpets act as a “sink” to absorb dust, dirt and odors. A thorough extraction at least once per year cleans out that sink and provides a cleaner, healthier environment. Again, it is important to choose an extraction cleaner that works in cold water. An all-purpose carpet spotter should be used daily or whenever spots appear.

Finally, a good deodorizer is critical. For bathrooms and residence halls, choose a deodorizer that specializes in organic odor removal, such as one containing enzymes.

Nicole Goulet is with Marlborough, Mass.-based Ramsey Company, a manufacturer of quality cleaning products. Visit their Website at . Joe Wilson is with Lake Forest, Ill.-based W.W. Grainger Company, a distributor of maintenance, repair and operations products. Visit their Website at .

5. Cleaning Procedures: Cleaning Is a Marketing Tool

by Rob Ryan

Educational facility managers tend to look at cleaning as an expense item -- one of those tasks that has to be constantly done just to keep ahead. To my mind, cleaning is more than that -- it’s part of the marketing process. College and university administrators spend tremendous sums on view books and recruiting, and campuses are often venues for public events. Every time someone visits a campus, he or she is making an evaluation of the institution.

A clean, presentable campus is a large part of that impression. The challenge is to take a fresh view when looking at the campus. Put yourself into the position of looking at the campus as an outsider. Take a walking tour. Follow the steps that parents on a college tour or attendees to a concert in an auditorium would take -- if you want to get really adventurous, imagine you’re visiting a student in one of your residence halls. What is the impression you get? Are your parking lots presentable? Do you see a clean facility? This may be an indicator that additional trash receptacles are needed or cleaning procedures need to be reviewed.

Regarding cleaning as an adjunct to marketing raises the standards and the stakes, but it gives an outlook that makes it easier to appreciate the importance of cleaning.

Rob Ryan is regional operations manager of Auburndale, Mass.-based UNICCO Service Company. Visit their Website at .