TASB Risk Management Fund
INSIDERM

Maintain Buildings and Grounds for Safer Schools

March 13, 2015 Shevis Moore

children and their teacher in front of school building

Preventative maintenance helps minimize the adverse effects of breakdowns and increases facility functionality. When maintenance departments perform regularly scheduled upkeep on facilities, it can maximize life cycles of equipment and brick and mortar assets. Two areas that are often overlooked when establishing or evaluating preventative maintenance programs are acquiring good data that can be used to help make decisions and increasing employee safety/emergency preparedness.

Planning and implementing a preventative maintenance program can be a difficult task due to the diverse nature of school facilities. School facilities are designed to meet a wide variety of specific functions, from instructional activity to hosting large events. Correctly gathering data and information can help increase the effectiveness of the programs as schools seek to establish or evaluate their preventative maintenance program.

Potential sources for gathering data include physical inspections, work order systems, user/customer feedback, review of maintenance cost, review of energy usage, major incent reviews, and comparisons to peer organizations.

Utilizing maintenance as a strategy to increase safety is also a consideration that is overlooked. Many hazards associated with employee injuries can be mitigated through sound maintenance. Maintaining walkway stair railings, fixing equipment that leaks or poses electrical risk, and sustaining proper lighting enhances overall employee safety and reduces risk of slips, trips, and falls.

School-based emergencies can be addressed and prevented by using the following practices:

  • Ensure that lighting and cameras are operational to deter theft and vandalism.
  • Verify that door locks, security systems, and fire detection systems are all functioning properly.
  • Keep fencing in good repair to keep out threats.
  • Maintain and trim landscaping to remove concealment options.

Preventative maintenance is a broad and diverse area. Taking the time to gather the proper data and information to direct efforts can yield very good returns on investment. Linking preventative maintenance to safety and emergency management is an emerging opportunity to further enhance the learning environment. 

For more information, visit the Fund website. TASB Facility services can also assist members with questions regarding preventative maintenance.

Tagged: "emergency management", Safety, "workplace safety"