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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Commercial building Safety

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

Modern buildings are generally considered safe and healthy working environments. However, the potential for indoor air quality problems, occupational illnesses and injuries, exposure to hazardous materials, and accidental falls beckons architects, engineers, and facility managers to design and maintain buildings and processes that ensure occupant safety and health. Notably, building designs must focus on eliminating or preventing hazards to personnel, rather than relying on personal protective equipment and administrative or process procedures to prevent mishaps.

Protecting the health, safety, and welfare (HSW) of building occupants has expanded beyond disease prevention and nuisance control to include mental as well as physical health (see Productive) and protecting the ecological health of a place (see Sustainable) through the creation of spaces that enable delight and the realization of human potential. 

Therefore, the design team should apply an integrated approach, including work process analysis and hazard recognition to develop solutions that provide healthy built environments, having no undue physical stressors, as well as meeting other project requirements. In addition, consideration of HSW issues should be an integral part of all phases of a building's life cycle: planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance, renovation, and final disposal.

  • Provide designs that eliminate or reduce hazards in the work place to prevent mishaps and reduce reliance on personal protective equipment.
  • Prevent occupational injuries and illnesses.
  • Prevent falls from heights.
  • Prevent slips, trips, and falls.
  • Ensure electrical safety from turn-over through Operations and Maintenance. Modifications must be in conformance with life safety codes and standards and be documented.
  • Eliminate exposure to hazardous materials (e.g., volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde, and lead and asbestos in older buildings).
  • Provide good indoor air quality (IAQ) and adequate ventilation.
  • Analyze work requirements and provide ergonomic work places to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD).
  • Perform proper building operations and maintenance.

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