Proactive risk management is the number one way for an organization to prevent unnecessary loss. From a reduction in work-related accidents to improvements in employee moral, effective risk management has a profoundly positive impact that ripples throughout an organization. In the Your Facility’s Management Plan series, our editors have explored inherently-risky facility areas that require extra attention during the formation and implementation of your organization’s risk management program. Today, our fourth and final installment evaluates the ways in which elevators and elevator lobbies can be made a safer place for both employees and facility guests.
For facilities of 2 stories or more, elevators play an integral role in the movement of guests, employees, and freight. In many instances, elevators serve as a secondary means of transportation, offering employees and guests an easier means of moving from one floor to the next. Elevators, and particularly freight elevators, play a more critical role in facilities that transport large items from floor-to-floor throughout the day. Depending on size, elevators may be the only means of transporting large freight items from ground level loading dock to 3rd floor storage room.
Part IV: Elevators
No matter the specific role elevators play in your facility, one thing is certain: They are an area of high risk. Elevators, as well as their “lobby areas” on each floor, are heavily trafficked by both people and freight. With this continual flow of traffic comes an increased risk of accident, liability, and loss. The best way to shape your facility’s risk management program to account for elevator areas is to consider the following 4 specific regions:
1. Elevator Lobbies: Located on each floor to which an elevator may travel, elevator lobbies are places where crowds of guests and employees may gather and wait. These areas become lively upon the arrival of an elevator cab, and it is important for facilities to anticipate how employees, facility guests, and large freight items may each interact with one another. Installing rubber floor mats in these areas is a good way to prevent slips, falls, and damage resulting from freight transportation.
2. Elevator Walls: Elevator walls present a problem because they are often ornate and contain elements like mirrors, tiles, or other materials that may become damaged during elevator cab use. Elevator wall pads are the best way to protect the walls of an elevator cab during the transportation of both guests and freight.
3. Elevator Controls: Elevator controls include the control panel inside the elevator cab, the elevator cab “call” buttons in each elevator lobby, and the motion detectors that keep cab doors from shutting on objects in the elevator doorway. Risk management plans must recognize that these mechanical elements must be in proper working condition at all times to prevent accidents from occurring. One way to ensure the proper function of these controls is to stay up-to-date with elevator maintenance and safety certifications. When it comes to elevator control panels (on the inside of the cab), designing custom elevator protection pads to protect the control panel and the surrounding wall space is imperative.
4. Elevator Cab Floors: Elevator floors are typically constructed using tile, hardwood, or marble, and they are subject to damage from the very same forces as Elevator Walls noted above. It is important to protect elevator cab floors from damage for at least two reasons. First, accrued damage may become incredibly expensive over time. Second, damaged floor space can be a main causal factor for accidents that result in injured people, damaged freight, or both. Berber Supreme Mats are a popular choice for elevator floors because they have a high-low surface texture that effectively traps dirt.
Additional Risk Management Resources
The Eagle Mat Blog invites readers to visit the following articles for additional information on risk management, facility safety products, and liability prevention:
1. Slip and Falls More Likely Than Traffic Accidents: According to the 2010 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, at-work slip and fall accidents were the #1 cause for employee injury. Read more about this alarming statistic and the ways your organization may reduce accidents in the workplace.
2. Your Facility’s Risk Management Plan, Pt. I: In the first installment of our series, we explore the outdoor areas that pose the greatest potential for risk: sidewalks, stairs, accessibility ramps, and more.
3. Your Facility’s Risk Management Plan, Pt. II: In part two of our risk management series, we move on to explore the interior entryways of a facility to learn more about the products that make lobbies, reception areas, and vestibules a safer place to visit.
4. Your Facility’s Risk Management Plan, Pt. III: Part three of our series dissects production areas like assembly lines, welding stations, and food preparation stations in an effort to highlight the greatest risks associated with each. Visit this article to learn about the negative effect worker fatigue is having on your productivity, as well as ways to reverse the loss altogether.
5. Preventing Slips and Falls with Floor Mats: In this general article, learn more about the liability that may arise from slip and fall accidents. An absolute must-read for facility owners and managers, this article examines day-to-day operations from the vantage point of U.S. liabilities law and offers advice on how keep areas safe while limiting your organization’s exposure to liability.
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