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Six steps to minimize safety risks in a facility

Baseline procedures and best practices to help keep employees and visitors safe
Friday, January 13, 2017
By Taleen Merjanian

The safety and security of employees and visitors is a priority for any facility. While every facility is different and each has its own specific safety needs, businesses can implement baseline procedures and best practices to help keep a facility’s employees and visitors safe. The following six steps serve as a guide to help businesses better understand—and help minimize—safety and security risks.

Identify Risks

Being prepared is one of the best ways to make your environment safer. Start by running a security audit or risk review to pinpoint the likely risks your facility faces. Doing this will identify the common fire hazards in the workplace, such as heating units or electrical equipment, and how to prevent incidents from occurring. From there, plan out a flexible strategy that allows for growth and can easily integrate new technologies and put protocols in place to address those emergency situations. Risks are inevitable, but being aware of potential dangers can help minimize those risks and may improve response time to address the risks that can’t be prevented.

Restrict Access

Allow only necessary personnel who are familiar with the technology to access your facility’s fire, security and life safety systems. Tampering with safety systems may damage the equipment, rendering it useless or result in expensive repairs. Something as simple as pressing the wrong button can make a big impact. In an emergency situation, businesses rely on these systems and if damaged, a malfunction could mean life threatening danger.

Employ an Access Control System

In facilities where employee turnover is high, traditional lock and key entry management can be costly and runs the risk of unauthorized facility access. Access control systems are more cost effective and easier to manage, facilitating a more reliably secure environment. Instead of replacing all locks and issuing new keys after the departure of authorized personnel, access control simply requires a system recode behind the scenes.

Stay Up-to-date on System Maintenance

From smoke detectors to alarm systems, ensuring proper maintenance is crucial to system performance. Over time, dust and debris can infiltrate systems and damage equipment. Even if a system appears fully functional, it’s important to run routine tests to identify and address issues before an emergency occurs. Consider adding diagnostic technology to your system that provides notification when an anomaly is detected. Identifying and correcting issues proactively can help to save lives.

Maintain Smoking Areas

Most facilities have designated areas where smoking is allowed. These areas are often neglected; however, allowing trash to build up in ashtrays can raise the risk of a fire incident. Businesses should use large, non-tip ashtrays and ensure their contents are cold before emptied. A small ember from a lit cigarette can have a huge impact on safety.

Invest in Surveillance

Regardless of size and budget, all facilities can benefit from a monitoring system. It not only provides visibility into any suspicious activity that occurs, but it can also help with business operations like monitoring employee policy adherence and visitor traffic. Surveillance can help improve safety on its own, and can also help a facility manage the five steps listed above.

Understanding the dangers a business is up against is the first step in protecting against risk. Facilities of all sizes are exposed to security and life safety risks that can have severe consequences if not managed properly. By following the full six steps outlined above, businesses can help make their facilities safer, more secure environments.

Taleen Merjanian is corporate marketing manager at Tyco Integrated Fire & Security

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