What is a Safety Manager & Why Your Facility Needs One?

What is a Safety Manager & Why Your Facility Needs OneFacility safety is vital not just for efficient, day-to-day operation, but for preventing injury or illness of building occupants, including staff, students, and visitors. “Keeping on top of health and safety in your school is vital – failing to do so could not only lead to unfortunate accidents, but also to financial costs, increased work-related absences, teaching delays, and damage to the school’s reputation and morale.” (4) 

 

No matter the industry, safety management is a top priority in every school or workplace facility. “Efficient safety management is an integral part of facility management as it helps to protect everyone that uses a facility from hazards.” (1) 

 

Is this article we’ll define what a safety manager is and what they do, discuss the health and safety risks that are specific to schools, and what the future of safety looks like in schools.  

 

What is a Safety Manager and What Do They DoWhat is a Safety Manager and What Do They Do? 

For smaller facilities or schools, the maintenance or facility manager is typically responsible for safety management. However, depending on the size and complexity of the campus or facility, that role may be assigned to a safety manager.  

  

“A safety manager is a professional who develops and executes health and safety regulations according to legal guidelines. By doing this, the safety manager works to minimize the risk of injuries or accidents and to help foster a culture of health and safety.” (1) 

 

There are three main components of the responsibilities of a safety manager: 

 

  1. Develop safety regulations – this includes getting stakeholders' input on safety issues and solutions, devising a facility safety plan, and to train and communicate regularly with staff and students about these regulations. This also entails testing the plan for readiness (think fire drills, for example). (1) 
  2. Execute safety regulations – this includes implementing preventative and protective measures, providing the right tools or equipment, ensuring compliance by staff and students, and reviewing the safety plan and making improvements to the plan as needed. (1) 
  3. Safety Awareness – this includes ensuring that everyone on the building is aware of the safety regulations in place and that they are abiding by them. “With the right framework in place, safety managers are in the best position to help an organization keep their facilities safer.” (1) 

 

Health and Safety Risks Specific to SchoolsHealth and Safety Risks Specific to Schools 

Not every facility or building is created equal. Although there are some risks that pertain to all facilities, there are a variety of health and safety risks specific to schools. All these risks must be considered in the school’s health and safety policy, such as the following: 
 

  • Slips, trips, and falls – all walkways must be clear, and uneven areas should be highlighted. Using cord covers, placing wet floor signs when appropriate, and quickly managing leaks are examples of preventative measures. 
  • Fire – having the proper fire-fighting equipment in place and displaying the fire evacuation procedures clearly. Fire prevention and safety training is a must, as well as regularly scheduled fire drills. 
  • Keep social distancing measures in place at your schoolFurniture and fixtures – especially important in preschools and K-6 grades, all cupboards, bookcases, display boards, and shelving must be securely fastened and in good condition. 
  • Department specific risks - each different department has its own hazards, and thus its own specialized requirements to meet. The department head should be able to identify these, using their specialist knowledge. Think science or chemistry labs!  
  • COVID-19 – although disease prevention has always been considered, if implementing COVID-19 procedures, these will prevent the spread of flu or other illness. Keep social distancing measures in place whenever possible, continue rigorous cleaning regimen, update and regularly maintain appropriate ventilation, have clear procedures in place for when a student or staff member develops symptoms during the day. “COVID-19 outbreaks might force your school to close for a long period of time. If this occurs, you must ensure that the building is safe before you reopen it.” (3) 

 

The Future of Safety in Schools 

The Future of School SafetyBecause of the pandemic, many schools have made changes to their facility safety policies and regulations and that it not going away anytime soon. These changes have also led to new innovations such as hybrid forms of classroom instruction, contact tracing technology, and contactless and touchless experiences throughout the facility. 

 

There should be no reason to turn back now, only to move forward and continue to improve these methods. “The collaboration, teamwork and new attitudes necessary to combat the pandemic will continue to become intertwined in our culture. Safety will be at the core of this evolving culture for a long time.” (2) 

 

School Fix Catalog is here for you and your school. Find safety products and equipment, from crosswalks to parking lots, or cafeterias to restrooms, you’ll find everything you need to keep your facility safe and apply important preventative measures in your safety plan. 

School Fix Catalog is here for you!We hope you found this guide helpful. To learn more about solutions to common school maintenance concerns please visit the School Fix® Blog, or explore our collections of products we have everything from locker parts to parking lot barricades or bathroom partition hardware.

Sources: 

  1. Christiansen, B. "The Role of Safety Managers in Facility Management". CMM: Cleaning & Maintenance Management. https://www.cmmonline.com/articles/the-role-of-safety-managers-in-facility-management. 2020, 16 Nov.

   

  1. Selko, A. "Safety Gains a Seat at the Table and Plans to Stay There". EHS Today. https://www.ehstoday.com/covid19/article/21165236/safety-gains-a-seat-at-the-table-and-plans-to-stay-there. 2021, 1 Jun.

  

  1. Sword, R. "Health and Safety in Schools: Free Checklist". Hub from High-Speed Training. https://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk/hub/health-and-safety-in-schools-checklist/. 2020, 9 Dec.

 

 

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