On the Lookout: Five Risks for O+M Professionals to Watch at a Property

May 15, 2019 | By: Nicole Lloyd

Operations and maintenance (O+M) professionals oversee many critical components of a property. Their work ensures that a building runs well, and workers and tenants are safe. Because of this, O+M professionals should always be aware of risks and hazards on a property. The following are five risks that O+M professionals should watch for.

  1. Slip and Trip Hazards

Many improperly managed O+M activities can create situations that may increase the possibility that a tenant or worker will trip and fall. It’s important for O+M professionals to monitor the property and survey areas and activities that might create a slip or trip hazard.

There are several examples of activities that may create a slip or trip risk. Floor finishes create a slippery surface that someone could slip on, so these should be monitored and portioned off. Uneven concrete and unmarked curbs can also create situations where someone would be likely to trip. O+M professionals should also watch for stairs in disrepair, which could easily lead to a trip or fall. This isn’t a complete list, and O+M professionals should monitor all activities that could create a slip or trip hazard. Always address these issues as quickly as possible.

  1. Elevator Issues

It’s essential that elevators are safe, well-maintained and reliable. There are several risks associated with elevators that O+M professionals should be aware of. First, the issues that may arise with elevator doors. In some cases, elevator doors can close too hard or too fast. Other times, doors can fail to open or close. To avoid these situations, elevator tracks should be regularly cleaned and vacuumed.

Checking the leveling of an elevator is also important. The threshold of the elevator should always be level with each floor. If it isn’t, a serious tripping hazard can be created. Lastly, O+M professionals should also be sure to check safety devices, as these can sometimes become disabled. It is critical that emergency devices are always working. Regular inspections by an expert, and a stringent maintenance program for the elevators in a building, can ensure that elevator issues are identified and addressed before they become a hazard.

  1. Outdoor Lighting Issues

O+M professionals should also be aware of their outdoor lighting fixtures. When the outdoor areas are not adequately lit, problems can arise. These issues include the possibility of increased crime, as well as an increased risk of accidents. Lights and bulbs can easily die out or break, so O+M professionals should regularly monitor outdoor lighting, fixing these issues as quickly as possible when they come up. Proper lighting can help ensure enhanced vision for workers, as well as increasing the aesthetic appeal of the property. O+M professionals should ensure that outdoor areas have sufficient lighting and that all fixtures are working properly. Any issues should be repaired and fixed promptly.

  1. Hazards in Hidden Areas

Out of sight shouldn’t mean out of mind when looking for risks on a property. It’s important to remember to check hidden areas within a building for hazards, such as storage areas and stairwells. Storage areas should be locked and neat. Storage areas and maintenance rooms that do not need to be unlocked during operating hours should always be secured. When these storage areas accumulate too many materials, or are unclean and disorganized, it creates risks. Unclean and disorganized storage areas can cause tripping, fire and pest hazards. Other hidden areas, like stairwells, should be frequently checked and monitored to ensure that there are no leftover equipment or materials within it. These create blockages to the exits and trip hazards.

  1. Inadequate Inclement Weather Preparedness

During an instance of inclement weather, it is vital that a building is prepared and ready to ensure that everyone within is protected. An inadequate inclement weather preparedness plan, and any physical issues on a property that make the emergency plan difficult, puts occupants and the property at risk. O+M professionals should monitor and inspect the building for things that may become problematic in an inclement weather situation. For example, there may be blocks or obstacles in hallways or paths that should be clear in the event of a weather emergency. Additionally, there should be clear caution tape or barricades around areas where people should not be. Not having an adequate inclement weather preparedness plan is also a dangerous risk. Before inclement weather hits, be sure your building has a plan for closing elevated parking areas and addressing freezing pipes.

Overall, by knowing and preparing for risks, an O+M professional can keep a property well-maintained and ensure that everyone who enters it is safe.