Here are a few tips that can help your organization both maintain code compliance and ensure workplace safety:
- Inspect walkways and parking lots. Look for potholes, depressions and uneven walkways or wheel stops in parking spaces that need repairing. Provide proper marking for changes in elevation and parking spaces.
- Help prevent slips, trips and falls. Install non-slip stair treads or slip resistant stair coverings. Use caution markers for wet areas, and clean up any spills immediately. Place rain mats at all entry points, and use non-slip mats for wet areas, such as around ice machines or sinks.
- Provide proper lighting and means of egress. Make sure emergency lighting is installed and in good condition; create a testing program to ensure they are in working order at all times. All exit signs should be identified and illuminated with a clear, unobstructed path to the exit.
- Review electrical components. Wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms should have ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) breakers installed, and these should be inspected regularly. Check electrical panels for missing breakers and covers, and establish a clear space of 36 inches around them.
- Properly install railings and balusters. Guardrails should have a height of at least 42 inches, while balusters should not exceed four inches apart. Provide handrails for steps with four or more risers, and prevent climbing hazards by removing or protecting horizontal balusters.
- Maintain alarms and detectors. All buildings should have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors hardwired with a battery backup. Implement a testing program to ensure they remain in good working condition throughout the year.
- Check exterior fire escapes. If there are AC units blocking egress onto fire escapes, make sure to remove them. The ladder mechanism should be inspected for proper functioning, and verify that there is access to the street from the fire escape.
- Service and inspect fire sprinkler systems. Properly service and inspect fire sprinkler systems in accordance with all applicable regulations and standards. Keep inspection records on file and have the system monitored by a central station.
- Create an emergency response plan. In the event of an emergency, it’s crucial to develop an evacuation plan. Designate a trusted individual to call 911 and direct first responders to the location.
Keep in mind that if you are planning to renovate your commercial property, you must obtain the proper permits first. Always hire qualified and insured contractors to maintain your property, and designate a manager within your organization to handle code compliance. This individual can also be responsible for conducting self-inspections to help identify issues before they arise. Additionally, remember that building codes can change over time, so be sure to familiarize yourself with your local codes.
from the Cover Stories/Building Safety Month 2019