Role of Facility Manager in Building a Safe Workplace: Imran Khan-Colliers

--By Imran Khan, Associate Director, Real Estate Management Services, Colliers

The Facilities Manager (FM),besides having the conventional role of ensuring proper upkeep and maintenance of the building, is now expected to act and behavemore as a consultant and designer of the infrastructure. With the users being more safety conscious and having experienced international standards, pursuing a green building certification andadherence to international standards of safety has now become more of a mandate than merely a voluntary option.

The below mentioned aspects deal with various crucial roles a FM must operatefrom safety, security, health, and wellness point of view.

• Technology enabled preventive and predictive maintenance.

A predictive way of maintenance of building and machinery is very vital in ensuring the structural and equipment safety, that can take care of building structure and also ensure the back-up availability of fire fighting machinery at all the times.Acondition-based maintenance program can be implemented at low and moderate investment. Deploying the best available technology tools and software, tracking, and monitoring the performance indicators will pre-empt unforeseen breakdowns.

• Security compliances and background verification of staff.

In current times, touchless attendance and compliance management would ensure a safe working environment. However,manpower still plays a crucial role during the time of digitisation as majority of machine handling and work execution is still handled by the work force and hence their compliance in terms of background verification and records play crucial role in the safety and security of the occupants.

• Remote surveillance of premises.

CCTV monitoring through a network video recorder (NVR) and IP based cameras has made digital and remote monitoring very handy, and the entire facility premises can be now monitored and kept under surveillance at our fingertipsthrough wired or wireless NVR systems.

• Ensuring an international standards of occupational safety.

International standards to the class of ISO 18001 process certification and other safety audits can bring in best standards and benchmarks to manage the facilities and FM can add value by ensuring adherence to such systems and thereby can also lead to gaining additional rewards throughinternational reward process like British Safety Council and other such certifications of the international repute.

• Working towards ensuring a good emergency response plan.

A well drafted and executed Emergency preparedness and response plan along with BCP (business continuity plan) can give a very high leverage in mitigating any/all kind of risksarisingout of any emergencies/crisis or lapse in security and safety processes at the facilities and FM’s can devise a fail proof plan to deal with such situations for a safe working environment.

• Encouraging use of eco-friendly material and mitigation of hazards

Effective use and handling of the chemicals and other hazardous materials and waste would be of very high importance to ensure that safety of both the operators/users and occupants are equally taken care of; FM can ensure to get all the certified green seal chemicals and products for facilities management operations and upkeep of facility, whereby having reduced impact on the health and safety of users and environment alike.

• Use of low VOC products for health and safety

FM may play a big role while getting the facility renovated or refurbished by use of low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)products and services, which can have lowest possible impact on health and indoor air and ambient quality levels. Further all low VOC and certified products would enable better health of the occupants in addition to their compliance with green building norms.

• Training and awareness on safety 

FM’s role would also be important in creating the awareness amongst clients and occupants of the premises to understand the available equipments at site to ensure safety, fire fighting and safe evacuation from the facility in case of emergency situations and such trainings and awareness would help the occupants to act effectively in dealing with such emergency situations. In addition to regular trainings and awareness, FMs can ensureadherence to safety and awareness creation by ensuring at least half yearly mock drills to deal with all the possible types of emergency situations.