Facility Management Archives

Are you a smart worker?

Are you a smart worker? Posted on:

We work in challenging times. In 1992, a United Nations report called job stress “the 20th century epidemic.” Six years later, in 1998, the World Health Organization declared job stress “a world-wide epidemic.” And a 2005 survey by the Families and Work Institute found that one in three Americans is chronically overworked. Of course, you don’t need any voice of authority to point out the stressful realities of the 21st century work world. You live it every day! No, what you need is some guidance on how to cope with it all. Karen Leland and Keith Bailey, the founders of Sterling Consulting Group, have spent the past 20 years surveying some 20,000 executives, managers, and staff from companies all over the world on a variety of core business issues. In the process, they discovered some significant trends that reveal the nature of stress and the specific skills that help people succeed in spite of it. “When people talk about workplace stress, they’re usually referring to three things: change, pressure, and conflict, occurring either individually or all at once,” says Leland. “We discovered that the people who thrive in the face of stress-whether they’re from Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, or the United States-possess three essential abilities. We believe these three abilities are at the heart of satisfaction and success at work.” What are those three abilities? Leland lists them below:Ability #1: Smart people are central players. The changes you experience at work, both big and small, can dramatically affect your point of view, mood, and energy level. New circumstances bring new challenges, yet no matter how joyous or upsetting they may be, you have the option to choose how you think about and respond to the changes you face. Smart people know that dealing with external change is an internal game that requires clarity of feelings, the ability to reflect, andself-determination. They also know that internal change requires a purpose greater than itself and an ability to keep going when the going gets rough. Ability #2: Smart people create tomorrow today. Creating goals-both personal and professional-setting priorities, and developing habits of action empower you to manage the pressures of your workload and help make today’s aspirations tomorrow’s reality. Have you noticed, however, that it’s hard to create something new, different, and exciting for the future when your focus and energy today are so diluted? By tying up loose ends and removing the distracting tangles they create,you free up your energy. Ability #3: Smart people dance with fire. Knowing… …Read More…

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Protecting Stairwell Safety Without Sacrificing Security

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Protecting Stairwell Safety Without Sacrificing Security Posted on:

This Web Exclusive was prepared by Shawn J. Mahoney, Marketing Product Manager, Ingersoll-Rand Security Technologies, Carmel, IN. High-rise commercial building fires are sparking rising concerns over what building owners can do to make stairwells safer for emergency egress without compromising security. In 1980, a fire at the MGM hotel in Las Vegas claimed 84 lives. More recently, four people died of smoke inhalation in a stairwell during a building fire in New York. On October 17, 2003, stairwell smoke claimed the lives of six people when fire broke out in the 35-story Cook County Administration Building in downtown Chicago. For TFM‘s coverage of this topic, see “Protecting People and Property” from the archives. The Chicago fire was typical, with locked stairwell doors that prevented people from re-entering building floors when they encountered heavy smoke in a stairwell. A final report from an investigative panel found that if the building had had sprinklers or stairwell doors that automatically unlocked in a fire, none of the deaths would have occurred. In high-rise offices, it is a common practice to lock stairwell doors to prevent criminals from entering offices, committing theft and leaving via the stairwells. Sometimes doors are locked only at the end of a business day, but in more buildings today, doors are always locked above the first floor to discourage the use of stairwells as a shortcut and protect against the possibility of criminals lurking in these areas. One of the earliest approaches, which focused on stairwell security, was to lock all doors to prevent re-access from the stairwell side. Signs were posted that all doors were locked until the ground level. Although this maintains security and works well in theory, stairwells can fill with smoke or create a chimney-like draft when doors are left open during a fire, often with fatal results. In many localities, codes or ordinances were changed to require that doors be left unlocked at intervals, such as on every fifth floor. While this helped provide a safe emergency escape, it also compromised security. Some systems make it possible for a person in authority to open the locks on all floors from a central location, although this requires a specific action that may not be possible or practical in all emergencies. Systems now are available that automatically release the locks on stairwell doors of all floors when a fire alarm is sounded, eliminating the human component. One such solution is an electrified breakaway lever trim recently introduced by Von Duprin as the E996L and also available… …Read More…

AED Program Provides Turnkey Emergency Response While Reducing Customer Liability Risk

AED Program Provides Turnkey Emergency Response While Reducing Customer Liability Risk Posted on:

To enhance emergency response to sudden cardiac arrest victims and help reduce customer liability risk, Defibtech today introduced DefibtechMD – a comprehensive AED management and medical oversight program for the deployment of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public facilities, workplaces, schools, medical and dental offices, police and fire/EMS organizations, and commercial buildings. For TFM‘s coverage of this issue, see “Not Just Another Day At The Office.” DefibtechMD complements the value of a lifesaving AED with all of the services associated with any successful AED initiative, including medical direction, Web-based tracking, recommended maintenance, and AED/CPR training. “DefibtechMD is a full-service approach to AED program management,” says Defibtech CEO Dr. Glenn W. Laub, who is also the chairman of cardiac surgery and director of the Heart Hospital at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, NJ. “It offers a system to help ensure that AEDs and trained personnel are ready to respond when an emergency strikes, and that AED programs comply with all regulations,” he concludes. DefibtechMD was developed in response to a market need for a turnkey approach that enhances emergency readiness and helps reduce the risk of customer liability, says Defibtech Vice President David Fritzsche, who is also director of DefibtechMD. He said one way the program improves readiness is through “closed-loop” data tracking, which links all AED program participants and serves as an automated system of checks and balances. This Web-enabled system keeps allprogram stakeholders up-to-date on AED status, maintenance, and personnel training and holds them accountable to each other by issuing electronic reminders, alerts, and delinquency reports. “What’s more, DefibtechMD allows Defibtech distributors to serve as a ‘one-stop-shop’ solution provider to their customers. The system is customized with the distributor’s logo and re-order contact information so that customers always know who to contact when it is time to order AED equipment and supplies,” he says. As AEDs become more commonplace, they are increasingly seen by communities as a required standard of care, Fritzsche continues. There have been high profile news stories and lawsuits against organizations when AEDs were not available in an emergency, when staff did not properly use AEDs due to a lack of training, and when AEDs did not function due to improper maintenance. “Readiness results in quick response, which saves lives,” he says. “Not having a full-service AEDprogram has all too often resulted in death and potential liability.” This past October, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority settled a wrongful-death lawsuit against it and Amtrak for $3.9 million, according to a report in the Boston Globe. A… …Read More…

June 30, 2006: New York City safety deadline

June 30, 2006: New York City safety deadline Posted on:

The New York City Department of Buildings recently issued its Reference Standard RS 6-1 and RS 6-1A in relation to photoluminescent exit path markings. By June 30, 2006, all Type E commercial hi-rise buildings of eight or more stories must comply with rigorous specifications concerning installation of photoluminescent markings to aid in evacuation in the event of failure of both the power and back-up power to lighting and illuminated exit signs, as per Local Law 26 of 2004 in order to maintain their Certificate of Occupancy. Randall Weis, president of RD Weis Companies, a full-service flooring contractor scrutinized the new standards and then studied the market in order to evaluate which product line would satisfy, and even exceed, these standards. The outcome? RD Weis now offers a safety egress system. The line consists of a newly developed phosphorescent pigment based on Strontium Oxide Aluminate chemistry. In contrast to the conventional phosphorescent pigments based on Zinc Sulfide, RD Weis’ products have an afterglow period of 10 times these conventional ones. In addition, their initial afterglow brightness is up to 10 times that of other photoluminescent pigments. These qualities, coupled with the product’s durability, slip resistance, resilience to high foot traffic, ability to withstand outdoor weather conditions and moisture resistance, produce a solution that fully satisfies Reference Standard RS 6-1 and AC169. Every step, landing, corridor, ramp, change of direction and doorway can be highlighted and easily identified. The result: acceleration of egress speed; minimization of the chance of panic; and assurance of getting occupants out of the building safely. For more information on this product, call (212) 431-4675.

Friday Funny: Christmas lights gone wild!

Friday Funny: Christmas lights gone wild! Posted on:

(Friday Funny…just a little early for everyone who will be off tomorrow) Since many facility managers have engineering backgrounds, I thought I’d send along this link to a very extravagant holiday light show. As this Snopes article explains, the gentleman who set this up (an electrical engineer), has since been forced to discontinue his light show after it caused severe traffic problems leading to an accident in his neighborhood. Bah, humbug! Still, at least we can all enjoy it on the Web!

UNICCO embraces green services

UNICCO embraces green services Posted on:

UNICCO Service Company announced an expansion to its UNICCO GreenClean program. Following a year of active new account startups and customer conversions to green cleaning and services, UNICCO is launching a new GreenClean operations kit and a newly designed Web site for customers, prospects, and the industry. Further delivering on its “Guaranteed Clean. Certifiably Green” mission, the company is also launching the UNICCO GreenClean Compliant certification program for qualified customers.For TFM‘s coverage of this topic, see “Life Cycle Management” from the archives. “At UNICCO, we are well down the road on environmental practices,” says George Lohnes, UNICCO vice president. “We are moving into our second phase, building on our track record and demonstrated results. We believe that the green operations toolkit is the first in the industry to provide this level of comprehensive green cleaning guidance. This operational tool, coupled with the vast resources that we have gathered to address environmental consciousness, makes UNICCO the undisputed leader among building service contractors.” UNICCO has developed a standard operating procedures tool box which is a comprehensive operations and communications green cleaning resource. The kit includes:· A newly developed operations procedure manual with detailed procedures for approved green cleaning techniques· A catalog of certified and approved green cleaning products along with data sheets· A listing of approved equipment with data sheets· Reporting forms for activities reporting, equipment maintenance and program certification· Multilingual posters for break areas, mixing stations, and other work areas· A video overview of UNICCO’s services and GreenClean program· The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System guidelines In addition, UNICCO has revamped its online eProcurement system to place Green Seal certified and environmentally preferable chemicals and equipment as default selections so operations people can easily order approved green products. The company is also relaunching its Greencleaning.com Web site. Greencleaning.com is a one-stop resource for information on UNICCO’s environmental practices and partners. It includes information on Green Seal and LEED programs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ashkin Group and other resources, as well as news and information on environmental topics from industry publications. The new GreenClean Compliant program extends UNICCO’s initiatives to its customers. In order to qualify, UNICCO cleaning and facilities services managers must submit specific reports and records that detail their green cleaning programs. This information is reviewed by an evaluation committee and, if qualified, the GreenClean Compliant designation is granted to the site. In order to uphold the program’s high standards, GreenClean Compliant sites must continue to requalify in order to maintain the status.

WEB EXCLUSIVE: What You Don't Know About Grounding Can Hurt You

WEB EXCLUSIVE: What You Don't Know About Grounding Can Hurt You Posted on:

Aging or unchecked grounding raises the risk of data/equipment loss, process anomalies, plant shutdown, and more. The Smart Ground Testing method can minimize these risks while overcoming traditional grounding test flaws. The following article discusses this method and how it can help facility managers address potential problems. By Del Williams Thirty years ago, Hank Aaron was still playing baseball, the first programmable pocket calculator became available, and the word “Internet” appeared for the first time in print. Unless your plant still uses the identical technology it did 30, 20, even 10 years ago (when Google didn’t yet exist), then trusting your plant’s operation to a grounding system installed decades ago—or testing it with a technology developed 80 years ago—isn’t perhaps the wisest choice. What you don’t know about your industrial plant’s grounding could not only hurt you, resulting in loss of life, but can cost you lost data and equipment as well as slowing processes or halted production. No industrial facility manager would consider violating fire code for fear of the consequences. Yet in too many plants, the foundation for all things electric—the grounding system—is allowed to go out of spec due to aging, corrosion, facility, and soil changes, as well as infrequent/inadequate grounding test evaluation. But out of sight does not mean out of danger when it comes to grounding. “Failing to properly evaluate and fix grounding problems can not only result in unnecessary lightning and transient damage, but also data/equipment loss, process anomalies, plant shutdown, as well as increased fire and personnel risk,” explains Joe Lanzoni, a manager with Boulder, CO-based Lightning Eliminators & Consultants, Inc. (LEC), a firm specializing in electrical grounding, surge suppression, and lightning protection. “Particularly susceptible to these disruptions are plants with sensitive computer, communication, and process control equipment, requiring low grounding impedance from one to 10 ohms to work properly.” Proper grounding is the first line of defense against the $1 billion spent annually on damage around the globe due to lightning and 60% of system outages due to lightning on the East Coast alone. Power surge protection equipment also depends on good grounding to defend against power surges and spikes as well as diverting lightning discharges of up to 400,000 amps to ground. Many U.S. industrial grounding systems are in poor repair and the limitations of traditional grounding system testing are hindering efforts to resolve the problem. Fortunately, there are technologies being designed to keep up with technical advances in the manufacturing and process control industries. Improved ground system testing methods, such… …Read More…

The most wonderful time of the year…

The most wonderful time of the year… Posted on:

The average American will attend 2.7 office parties during this holiday season and spend two hours and 36 minutes at each. Since so many people will be spending “work-time” this December wearing funny hats, eating Cheez-Wiz and avoiding those darned mistletoed doorposts, how can people make the most of this season’s merrymaking? The following list of office party “dos and don’ts” come from Andrea Nierenberg, author of Million Dollar Networking: The Sure Fire Way to Find, Grow, and Keep Your Business. 1. Keep the Shirt on Your Back- It’s time to loosen the tie and kick off those heels. However, appropriate dress is essential. Ladies, anything with the word “skin”(e.g. skin tight, skin baring) in it is a bad idea. Guys, keep everything buttoned and zippered and you’ll be ok. 2. Limit Libations- Nothing spells bad year-end review like too much a-l-c-o-h-o-l. Remember, holiday party disasters don’t just last a night, they follow you to the office. If you do have a few, keep it that way. 3. Ho, Ho, Ho, It’s Almost Review Time- Make sure you say hello to your boss, his or her boss (who approves your raise) and other co-workers that you haven’t seen lately because they may have gotten moved to the basement after abusing tip # 2 at the last holiday party. “Holiday office parties can be great internal networking opportunities,” says Nierenberg, “And while, the worst thing you can do is not show up, you still need to mind your manners. Remember, when the party is over, you’ll see them at work again real soon.” On that note, FacilityBlog will be winding down for the next two weeks during the holiday season. The editors will post when they can, but the frequency and volume will decrease until everyone gets back into the swing of the new year. Still, there is one last Friday Funny lined up and ready to go for next week, so check back when you can!