We require from buildings two kinds of goodness: first, the doing their practical duty well: then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it.
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From Your President
News & Events
Mike Petrusky interviews Leigh Stringer, LEED AP, author of The Healthy Workplace.
Part 1 of 2
Walking the Line
An OSHA Update
Facility, the official publication of the Corporate Facilities Council of IFMA, is published quarterly.
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Executive Board 2016-18
Denise Johnston, CFM
Beth Osgood, CFM
Koch Business Solutions
Joe Selby, CFM
Wells Fargo Bank
Immediate Past President
Steven R. Pons, CMP, AssocRICS
Sarah Wortman, CPSM
Koch Business Solutions
Sue Thompson, CMP
AAA Club Alliance
Wayne Whitzell, LEED AP, BEP, GBO
Buck Fisher, CFM, IFMA Fellow
Facilities Management & Operations Assessment
Alice Houguisson, CFM, SMP Edelman
Jeff Martin, CMP
Wells Fargo Bank
Melodee Wagen, MCR
Workspace Strategies, Inc.
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Denise Johnston has been actively involved in IFMA on a variety of levels in the Greater Triangle Chapter as well as the Corporate Facilities Council. She served as president of the Greater Triangle Chapter (2008-2009), Programs chair of the CFC (2010-12) and also as Secretary of the CFC (2012-14).
From Your President
Autumn is my favorite time of year! The days get shorter, the light begins to change, and the air is crisp.
It wasn’t in Houston during World Workplace—it was balmy, sunny, absolutely delightful weather. It was a week of the kind of weather Houstonians wait for after months and months of stifling humidity. The downtown area was clean and bright, with no indication of a disastrous flood having occurred mere weeks before.
IFMA reported that 4,000 people attend World Workplace this year, but it didn’t feel like that many. Many of us noticed the reduced numbers on the expo floor, where it was easier to get around and far less crowded at popular booths. Nevertheless, everyone seemed happy to see each other, and many IFMA members got in a couple of days early to participate in some rebuilding efforts, being of as much help as they could given the short duration of their volunteer time. The Welcome Reception, held on a green park space in front of the George Brown Convention Center, was well-attended and featured some serious barbeque.
As usual, it was a conference filled with great content. The Corporate Facilities continued its “Real Life Conversations,” featuring business continuity planning as its topic—one that was prevalent through the conference. Our panel consisted of four CFC members sharing different aspects of their experiences in business continuity planning and execution. Our very own program chair, Wayne Whitzell, presented on two topics: Avoiding Death by PowerPoint and Learn to Surf Chaos Instead of Drowning in It. Other sessions throughout the conference focused on disaster preparedness, workplace violence, and what to do in the aftermath of major events.
Mark your calendars for October 3 – 5, 2018 when World Workplace 2018 will be in Charlotte, North Carolina! It promises to be another outstanding convention for all those in FM.
In this issue, we are pleased to bring you the facility management innovator podcast hosted by Mike Petrusky of Kayrell Solutions. Mike is blazing a trail in making FM a desirable profession—subscribe to the podcast!
Finally, congratulations to the Houston Astros on their World Series win. It couldn't have come at a better time.
Enjoy the remaining days of fall—see you next season!
By Elizabeth Dukes
How to Use Bürolandschaft
to Build an Agile Workplace
Did you know the concept of the open office layout was pioneered by architects like Frank Lloyd Wright in the early 20th century?
This means that while the open office layout may have begun steadily increasing in popularity about 10 years ago, this approach has actually existed for nearly a century. Here’s a little background, according to Scientific American:
To promote a more egalitarian environment, Wright and other 20th century modern architects recommended businesses remove walls, eliminate rooms and house the entire workforce in a single space where they could openly communicate and collaborate.
Unfortunately, many organizations corrupted this idea and instead used an open office layout to pack in as many employees as possible, creating what amounted to a corporate assembly line where workers sat at rows of identical desks or tables and performed repetitive tasks.
As part of an effort to bring a bit more humanity to the open office layout, in the 1950s German design group Quickborner introduced the concept of Bürolandschaft, Quickborner wanted to foster a more interactive workspace by breaking up the endless rows of desks with organic groupings of desks that were informally separated by file cabinets or plants as opposed to walls.
In the 21st century, we're all about the agile workplace—responding to the needs of employees.
Unfortunately, just as with the original open office layout, companies warped Quickborner’s approach and began constructing vast and depressing cubicle farms, cramming as many workers into the office as possible to save money, and making everyone miserable in the process.
Even though the good intentions of Bürolandschaft were lost, the concept became the foundation for the next evolution of the office: the agile workplace. The agile workplace responds to the workforce’s need for privacy and flexibility in the workplace.
Here’s how you can optimize the ideas of Bürolandschaft while building a more agile workplace for your employees.
Create a culture of collaboration.
At its core, Bürolandschaft is about creating an environment where employees are encouraged to collaborate and communicate with one another.
To build an agile workplace, members of the workforce should have technologies that allow them to connect with their colleagues and supervisors. This may include videoconferencing software (to help remote employees and on-site employees build a better rapport), project management software (to ensure every person involved in a project is always on the same page) or knowledge management software (to encourage collaboration between employees in the same or different departments).
Enable data accessibility.
One of the main goals of Bürolandschaft is to break down literal and figurative barriers. It is about ensuring employees can more easily share information.
Taking a page from the Bürolandschaft playbook, business leaders should build an agile workplace where employees have access to the data they need at all times, regardless of their physical location. Technology like an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) supports the modern application of Bürolandschaft by connecting employees with the kinds of information that can help them make more confident, data-driven decisions.
An agile workplace built on the concepts of Bürolandschaft should promote a greater sense of freedom and autonomy. In other words, it should be a place where employees don’t feel like just another cog in the wheel.
Real Time Data to Ensure Intelligent Space Planning
Activity-based working has taken these principles and modernized them. Rather than assigning employees dedicated workstations, an activity-based working environment provides employees with access to different work areas that are reserved for specific activities, such as collaboration, meetings or just relaxing. Employees can choose the type of space that best suits their needs and what they believe would most help their productivity.
This is an exciting time for office design. The advent of the agile workplace reflects the changing needs of our workforce to be more mobile, collaborative and flexible. Use the ideals of Bürolandschaft, and create an office environment that is truly worthy of your talented workforce.
Reprinted with permission
Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm. As a result she understands first hand the broad scope of services to be managed and the challenges faced in managing the workspace.
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The new and enhanced online discussion and document sharing platform called Engage is ready to use. It allows you to easily interact and communicate online, so you can continue conversations and make new professional connections with colleagues in the facility management industry.
Go to Engage right now, log in and check out the site. Click on the Corporate Facilities Council discussion group and get connected─complete your profile, set your email preferences, and begin interacting with FMs the world over!
Hurricane Irma: 124 people killed and $63 billion in property damage.
Hurricane Maria: 78 people killed, more than $92 billion in property damage, and utter devastation to the island of Puerto Rico.
Las Vegas Strip Shooting: 59 people killed and 489 wounded.
It’s been a rough couple of months, to say the absolute least.
The temptation in times like these is to harden ourselves to anything that seems petty; to say, “You’re seriously going to complain about the vending machine being restocked right now?”
I was visiting one of my buildings earlier this week (this is just a couple of days after the Las Vegas Strip Shooting) and one of our team members buttonholed me and dragged me around the space pointing out all kinds of things: janitors not dusting desks or vacuuming in some spots repeatedly, a light fixture that was out and should have been fixed a long time ago, a desk drawer that was sticking and, finally, a microwave in their break room that had stopped working that morning. When she pointed out the microwave, she teared up.
Did all this stuff need attention? Yup. Was she about to cry because the microwave was broken? No. That was just the proverbial final straw in a long line of straws that included having a sister in Houston whose house was destroyed by Irma, and working in an industry—banking— where men with guns are a thing that can be very triggering.
A couple of years ago I had a really bad month. A family cabin in the mountains burned down, taking with it decades of memories; my stepfather and my wife’s grandfather both died suddenly; and my sister was hospitalized with a life-threatening illness. Four body blows in a row.
I can remember getting into my car one morning during that period and the tire pressure indicator came on when I started the car. Not a big deal under normal circumstances, but I was not operating under normal circumstances. That particular morning, I didn’t have anything left in the tank, so I lost it. I ended up calling my boss and asking for a few days off after I’d calmed down. I was not fit for human consumption.
All those things I was dealing with are easy for someone to relate to and empathize with. They happened to my close family—to people who had been actively present in my life. Here’s the thing: for many people, events like Irma, Maria, and the Las Vegas incident, even if they don’t know a single person directly impacted by those events, are a heavy weight to bear.
FM is a special kind of occupation. We interact directly with the occupants of our buildings every day, and the choices we make and actions we take in our jobs affect how people feel. That AC vent that’s blowing on the back of your neck today might be harder to tolerate when you’re dealing with all the feels that come up with major disasters. If the janitor forgets to empty your trash can under normal circumstances, it’s annoying. When it happens while you’re under emotional stress, it’s intolerable.
If I have a mission as a facility management mentor to young FMs it’s to get them to realize they don’t know everything. Ever.
It’s tempting to write off complaints, or to view someone’s emotional response to their workspace being too cold/too hot, their trash not being emptied, or a microwave that just crapped out, as just whining. Don’t. You do not know the full spectrum of what’s going on in that person’s world today. For many people, the workplace is a refuge from chaos and familial or personal stress. If someone seems impatient or unreasonably angry about something that you see as objectively minor, take a minute, because you don’t know how much patience that person has already expended or what emotional reserves have already been tapped.
And it ought to go without saying that when obvious, huge, traumatic events are all over the news. We should assume, as FMs, that our customers aren’t at their best.
Joe Selby is a Retail Property Manager for Wells Fargo Bank, managing a large portfolio of buildings, responsible for capital planning, operations and ongoing maintenance programs.
Contact Steve Pons at email@example.com
Terrorism has come to dominate the news and political agenda ever since the fateful September 11th attacks, when images of hijacked planes flying into the World Trade Centre were broadcast to horrified audiences across the globe.
But the world has changed dramatically in the past fifteen years, and with it, the nature of terror. As the tragedies in France, Belgium, Turkey and elsewhere have demonstrated, anyone anywhere can become a victim.
By Mark Preston and Paul Turnbull
SECURITY IN AN AGE
OF GLOBAL TERROR
Commercial property landlords need to be aware of the types of threats they now face, and take adequate precautions to ensure their assets, tenants and the general public, are protected as far as possible and that site specific ‘stay safe’ emergency plans are developed and implemented to mitigate the risks and react as necessary should an incident occur.
A history of terrorism
Terrorism, although seen by some as a relatively recent phenomenon, has a long and varied history. The term was first coined at the end of the 18th century to refer to the mass violence during the French Revolution, when tens of thousands of people were publicly beheaded.
Closer to the modern understanding of terrorism would be the wave of bombings that gripped Europe during the early 20th century, as anarchists, nationalists and other radicals targeted the political establishments of their time.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Marxist-Leninist groups like Baader-Meinhof in Germany and the Red Brigade in Italy carried out assassinations and kidnappings, while the escalating Israeli-Palestine conflict generated a number of atrocities. The UK suffered its own domestic terrorism in the form of the IRA, with both mainland Britain and Northern Ireland suffering significantly.
Following 9/11, most have come to associate terrorism with Islamist organisations like al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Isis, born out of the collapse of Iraq and Syria, has exploded onto our television screens over the past five years, capturing the media’s attention with their extreme forms of cruelty.
An evolving threat
In addition to well-produced videos showcasing their crimes, the 2015 massacres in Paris by Isis operatives highlighted a fundamental shift in terrorist tactics which will undoubtedly continue to evolve.
Previously, security forces had focused their efforts on protecting obvious targets like transport hubs or iconic ‘national’ landmark buildings and this of course will continue. But following the murders at the Charlie Hebdo offices, the Bataclan concert hall and the more recent tragedies in Nice, it is clear that anti-terror strategies will also have to adapt and evolve to the increasing focus on ‘soft targets’, and commercial landlords, along with all of us, will have their role to play.
Places most at risk will continue to be the ones that have unrestricted access, heavy footfall and large amounts of public realm, such as shopping centres, where it is difficult to establish a secure perimeter.
In addition to the physical threat—cyber-terrorism poses a growing danger, especially as digital connectivity increases and we become ever more reliant on technology for everyday transactions. Worryingly, it is an area where many still assume they are not exposed to a huge amount of risk, but this mind-set is slowly starting to change.
Criminal techniques are now so advanced that cyber-attackers can hack into any device with a central processing unit (CPU) to gain wider access to company or personal devices. They no longer need to directly access your main computer server to cause disruption.
What can be done?
Fundamentally, the best protective strategies come down to prevention through continued vigilance. The security forces will thankfully continue to thwart the majority of plans to carry out attacks but everyone has a collective responsibility to remain vigilant and to have a clear idea of how to act and respond when the worst happens. The ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ approach has been publicised in the wake of attacks in Kenya and Paris and everyone should give some thought to what their actions would be should they find themselves caught up in a terrorist incident. Traditional evacuation procedures will need to be continually reviewed and adapted.
Most new property developments now incorporate physical defences into their design. In addition to traditional barriers and bollards, ‘Hardened’ external landscaping such as seating and planters double up as barriers to prevent vehicles being driven close to or into properties, and can also be retrofitted easily to increase the perimeter security of existing buildings. Planning guidance is available and the Royal Institute of British Architects has its own dedicated advice on designing for counter-terrorism without turning the nation into Fort Knox.
However, physical defences would not have prevented the lower-level ‘Lone Wolf’ types of attacks witnessed in France and elsewhere. Heightened vigilance, improved surveillance and regular interaction with the police and other security services, such as live simulation exercises, are all increasingly important and may have to become as common as fire drills.
Following the terrorist attacks in Turkey and Kenya, equipment normally seen at airports, like X-ray machines and metal detectors, can be found at shopping malls. Some venues in the UK have also introduced restrictions on what visitors can bring in with them and it is likely that this will unfortunately become more commonplace for the foreseeable future. However, if we want to live in a free and open society, then no security infrastructure can ever remove all the risks.
Limiting the impact from a cyber-attack similarly comes down to an awareness of how we as individuals, or our businesses, could be affected and how best to react and respond. Prevention will always be the best form of defence but it will never be watertight, working in conjunction with your insurance adviser to reach an informed decision on how best to manage and mitigate the risk is key.
The role of insurance
In the UK, cover for damage caused by acts of terrorism and any subsequent loss of income is readily available and widely purchased. This will continue to be the case and in relation to the physical asset itself, remains fairly straightforward. Less straightforward is insurance for any financial downside linked to terrorism or the threat of terrorism.
The role of insurance brokers and insurers should therefore be seen more as one of working alongside and offering guidance and risk management advice to their clients, rather than offering a specific insurance policy to cover the risk, should it even exist. The following are key considerations in relation to the threat from both physical and cyber terrorism, be it in relation to physical assets or people:
Identify the threat—that means taking proper advice from people in the know
Establish what you want to protect and what is vulnerable
Identify the security improvements that would offer enhanced protection
Review and rehearse regularly to make sure you have got it right
Reprinted with permission.
Mark Preston Dip CII
Divisional Director, Real Estate Practice
Willis Towers Watson
Direct: +44 (0)20 3124 6242
Mobile: +44 (0)7908 796444
Willis Towers Watson, Real Estate Practice
020 3124 6253
It’s better to hide rather than confront. Remember to turn your phone to silent and turn off vibrate. Barricade yourself in if you can. Then finally and only when it is safe to do so…
Run to a place of safety. This is a far better option than to surrender or negotiate. If there’s nowhere to go, then…
Call the police
[This article uses British
spelling conventions. Editor]
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Access Bank PLC
Duilio Angelini, RPA
U.S. Facilities, Inc.
Lazard Frères & Co. LLC
Ann Marie Ayres, FMP
NBC Universal Studios Hollywood
Comfort Foods Group
The Flying Locksmiths
Trilogy Corporate Services
Cody Crawford, CFM
Andras L Danko
Restoration Management Company
Mike Flanagan, CFM
Bimbo Bakeries USA
Washington State Department of Health
Brea Gates, CFM
Baker McKenzie LLP
Jackie Gilmore, CFM
State Farm Insurance Co.
Shannon Guiod, FMP
Broadridge Financial Solutions
Cushman & Wakefield
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.
David King, CFM
Corporate Interior Systems
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Executive Management Services
A&E Television Networks
Koch Business Solutions
Jones Lang Lasalle
Machelle Pellegrini, CFM
State Farm Insurance Co.
Bradley Pfeifer, FMA
Aaron Phillips, M.S.
Missouri Employers Mutual
Quazuks Investimento e Participacoes
Bret Reinthaler, CFM
State Farm Insurance Co.
Gregory Ridgway, AIA
State Farm Insurance Co.
Rene Robles, CFM
IMPEC Facilities First Professional Services Division
Mardsen South L.LC
Kenneth Sapp, CFM
State Farm Insurance Co.
Jeff Siegler, C.P.M.
David Sielaty, CFM
Duke Clinical Research Institute
Talawn Unger Jackson
NORC, University of Chicago
Jacqueline Van Der Wijk
Post Consumer Brands
Kay Wulf, IIDA
Sue Thompson is the editor of Facility, the immediate past president of the IFMA Delaware chapter, a past president of the CFC, and the Facilities Manager at AAA Club Alliance.
I am a real IFMA advocate–in more ways than one (as I will explain further). I love the organization. It has opened doors for me in several ways: speaking at World Workplace and Facility Fusion and chapter meetings was the catalyst for starting my public speaking business, Exceptionality. I once found a wonderful job because of an IFMA contact who got me an introduction to the hiring VP, an IFMA member, and my closest colleague at that job was (and still is) an IFMA member active in his local chapter (and, I might add, in the Corporate Facilities Council!). I have contacted IFMA members in companies that operate similarly to the one I currently serve to get information, gain insights, and understand my role in an industry new to me. I could not find a better network.
Like any organization—like anything run by humans—it is not without flaws. Initiatives struggle, good ideas and plans don’t make it off the ground, communication is lacking or non-existent, leaders don’t lead or they exhibit un-leaderly attributes, committees don’t commit, officers or chairs don’t contribute. Such is life. But as is so often the case, the members of an organization can make it worthwhile to be one yourself, and that’s what I find in IFMA. Those of us who take as much advantage as we can of what IFMA offers, and participate as fully as we can, find an undeniably rich vein of volunteers, FM champions and experts and cheerleaders who inspire, invigorate, and encourage our efforts. I come away from World Workplace having met and renewed relationships that make me want to do something different, be more aware, return to my first loves, forge new paths, tackle difficult tasks with newfound vigor—and involve myself more in IFMA in whatever way is open to me.
If you feel anything close to the same way, I urge you to plan to attend next year’s IFMA Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. There is no registration fee for this event—you just have to get there and pay your hotel. IFMA Advocates from chapters all over the United States meet first to hear an overview of how our day on The Hill will be conducted and receive some rudimentary training. We are given explanations of the issues we want to present for consideration. (We also frequently get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour something the public doesn’t typically get a chance to see!) The next morning, members of the Congress and/or Senate meet with us to share measures that are being taken that are of interest to our profession—always tremendously interesting. We also get the treat of hearing from the Architect of the Capitol (an IFMA member, as are nearly all his FMs) on current projects. In the afternoon on the second day, we branch out to meet with our states’ elected officials and share our personal experiences, related to the issues with which we’re concerned, as their constituents and as facility managers who wish to present IFMA as a resource for positive change in government.
I find this one of the most exciting and eye-opening events with which IFMA has given me involvement. For all of the discord in government today, this event pulls me back to the realization that constituents can influence legislation and this is how government is fundamentally to work. The experience it provides in discussing relevant concerns with high-level officials or brilliant young members of their staffs is immeasurable. I cannot say enough about the IFMA associates and volunteers who put on this important event—they are absolute gems, and so committed to the process.
This past Advocacy Day had us focusing on one (among several) issue that I find of particular interest: action on the reinstatement of the Perkins Act, which provides government funding for career education, including vocational training. We are all aware of how difficult it can be to find qualified electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians; not to mention welders, machinists, and other skilled workers that this country has lost in its relentless push to make sure everyone has a college education whether they want it or not, whether they are suited to it or not. To give impetus to this acts reinstatement by moving it forward to allow state governments to put career training into place would provide a tremendous boost to ensuring we have skilled trades that are of vital importance to the FM profession, as well as opening the door to training for facility management.
I can’t encourage you enough—become an IFMA Advocate! I am, on every front, and I find it not only deeply rewarding, but honest-to-God fun. Join me and many of your IFMA colleagues in DC next September!
By Lawrence D. Green, BASP
How It Affects Facility Managers and Building Owners?
The newly revised Walking-Working Surface and Fall Protection Standard SubPart D Regulation became effective on January 17, 2017. OSHA’s goal is to prevent and reduce workplace slips, trips and falls, as well as other injuries and fatalities associated with Walking Working Surface Hazards. This new rule requires employers to protect all workers from fall hazards along unprotected edges or sides that are at least 4 feet above a lower level. This rule affects all facilities (even those in 1 story office or industrial parks). The regulation sets requirements for fall protection in specific situations that most of us may never think of—but note such areas as stairways, wall openings, repair pits, dangerous equipment, and even catwalks and runways. The regulation applies to office buildings, factories, warehouses, hospitals, and other facility areas with a walking-working height above 4 feet. In addition, they establish requirements for the inspection, performance and maintenance of personal fall protection systems at the building site. So keep in mind that this new regulation not only affects such contractors as window cleaners, HVAC & satellite technicians, other maintenance contractors, etc., but also building engineers. So it is important to note that any employee or contractor who has a potential risk of fall hazard (noted above) on a facility site is required to be protected of such hazard.
How does OSHA define fall protection?
OSHA notes the definition of fall protection as “any equipment device or system that prevents a worker from falling from an elevation or mitigates the effect of such a fall.” For the purpose of the final rule, “mitigates the effect” means the fall protection prevents the worker from coming into contact with a lower level if a fall occurs.
What are the examples/options that relate to fall protection?
Personal Fall Arrest System: This is a system that arrests/stops a fall before the worker contacts a lower level. There is a need for a worker to comply with what I call the ABC’s of Fall Protection.
b. Body Harness
When it comes to Connection, this may include a deceleration device, lanyard, lifeline, or a substantial combination of these. OSHA does state that the use of a body belt is PROHIBITED as being part of a personal fall protection system.
Positioning System: This is a system whereby the connectors and the equipment, when used with a body harness, allow the worker to be supported on an elevated vertical level surface.
Traveling System: This system requires the combination of an anchorage, anchorage connector, lanyard, and body support to eliminate the possibility of a worker going over a protected edge or side of a walking-working surface.
Ladder Safety System: In order to be in compliance with this system, which involves a fixed ladder, the design must reduce or eliminate the possibility of a worker falling off the ladder.
In this segment of the regulation, OSHA has stated in (1910.28(b)(9) that when it comes to fixed ladders that extend over 24 feet, the final rule in this area ONLY will be phased in by November 20, 2036. They have noted that prior to that deadline, fixed ladders over 24 feet need to be equipped with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems, and prohibited are the use of cages and wells as a means of fall protection.
Safety Net System: This system is a horizontal or semi-horizontal cantilever-style barrier that uses a netting system to stop the fall of a worker before he/she makes any form of contact with a lower level or obstruction.
Guardrail System: Overall, this is a barrier erected along an exposed side or unprotected area, edge, or other area of a walking-working surface to prevent the worker from falling to a lower level below.
Does the facility manager need to even have a 2-story facility inspected to be in compliance?
YES! Many buildings at this height need to be inspected, due to the fact that many of their facilities have such apparatuses like HVAC units, satellite antennas, or other similar units near the edge of the building’s roof edge. Therefore, facility engineers and other contractors need access to these units when doing their inspections. OSHA states “when work is performed less than 6 feet (1.6m) from the roof edge, the employer must ensure each employee is protected from falling by a guardrail system, safety net system, travel restraint system, or personal fall arrest system.” They further state that “when work is performed at least 6 feet (1.6m) but less than 15 feet (4.6m) from the roof edge, the employer must ensure each employee is protected from falling” by the same measures as noted when doing work less than 6 feet (1.6m). In the end, “the employer may use a designated area when performing work that is both infrequent and temporary.”
How does the new rule affect buildings that allow contractors to use Rope Descent Systems (RDS)?
OSHA notes in 1910.27 (b)(1) that the use of these systems “requires that before any rope descent system is used, the building owner must inform the employer, in writing, the building owner has identified, tested, certified, and maintained each anchorage so it is capable of supporting 5,000 pounds (268kg) in any direction, for each employee attached.”
Paragraph (b)(1) in that section requires that the employer must ensure that no employee uses any anchorage before the employer has obtained written information from the building owner that each anchorage meets the requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section. Yet the final rule prohibits employers from using RDS at heights greater than 300 feet above grade, unless they can demonstrate it is not feasible or creates a greater hazard to use any other system above that height.
So are buildings required to have their anchors inspected?
YES! The final rule does require building owners to provide and for employers to obtain information that the permanent anchorages used with RDS have been inspected, tested, and certified and maintained as capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds per employee attached. 1910.27/(b)(1) further states that “the information must be based on an annual inspection by a qualified person and certification of each anchorage by a qualified person, as necessary, and at least every 10 years.”
How do I go about in getting my anchors inspected in my area?
Facility owners and managers should contact their local engineering firm to see if it has the skillset and qualifications to test and certify anchors on their building. There are several anchor installation companies in the United States that have the expertise in testing anchors in order to help get your facility to be in compliance. In general, you need to find someone that meets the OSHA definition of a Qualified Person. This is one who, “by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training and experience, successfully demonstrates the ability to solve/resolve problems relating to the subject matter the work or project.”
What are the compliance deadlines set forth by OSHA?
Even though most of the final rule became effective January 2017 (with it being published in the Federal Registry), OSHA did provide delayed phase-in compliance deadlines as it applies to the new final rule. Included are the following:
1910.27(b)(1) Inspection and Certification of Permanent Building Anchorages. November 20, 2017
1910.28(b)(9)(i)(A)-Deadline by which employers must equip existing fixed ladders with a cage, well, ladder safety system, or personal fall arrest system. November 19, 2018
1910.28(b)(9)(i)(B)-Deadline by which employers must begin equipping new fixed ladders with a ladder safety system or persona fall arrest system. November 19, 2018
1910.28(b)(9)(i)(D)-Deadline by which the replacement of cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet. November 18, 2036
1910.30(a) & (b)-Deadline by which employers must train employees on fall and equipment hazards. May 17, 2017
It is important that facility managers and owners have their current anchor system tested and certified by a Qualified Person. When doing so, this documented certification is good for 10 years and must be kept on file. In addition, a copy must be presented to the contractor before the start of his/her work assignment. A new certification will not be needed again for another 10 years after such inspection. After the 10 year certification has been obtained, and then each year thereafter, management must have its anchors visually inspected and documented on an annual basis.
Additional information relating to the new Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protection Equipment (Fall Protection System) Final Rule can be obtained by visiting the OSHA website. Or for a copy of the OSHA Fact Sheet, visit here.
Lawrence D. Green, BASP, is President and Co-Owner of Clean & Polish Building Solutions, Inc. and CPI Restoration, LLC. Mr. Green has over 33 years’ experience in the industry, with an emphasis on safety. He is a Building Access Safety Professional (BASP) as an OSHA Authorized General Industry Safety Trainer. In addition, he is Past President of the IWCA. His company has been a long-term supporting member of IFMA.
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