Facility Maintenance

Facility Operator

The role of facility maintenance professionals is often oversimplified by many people. When they think of someone who works in facility maintenance, they may think of janitors or people who fix a particular machine, or a combination of the two. The fact is, however, that facility maintenance is much more than that, and is an essential part of keeping everything running smoothly. When done properly, the work is often unnoticed, but if it is not performed, all productivity will come to a halt very quickly.

According to Dan Hounsell, editor of Dan Maintenance Solutions magazine:

Last Year OSHA issued over 40,000 citations for safety violations in the workplace. In one example a well known company was fined over $1 Million for safety violations that resulted in an employee’s death.

-Dan Hounsell – Maintenance Solutions magazine

It is critical for all businesses to keep everything operating smoothly, and one of the most important factors for that is maintaining the facility. Facility maintenance is a fairly broad area, which covers a number of important activities in the facility. Looking at some of the different responsibilities this area has is a good place to start when evaluating this role.

General Maintenance

One of the primary things that facility maintenance departments are responsible for is the general maintenance of the facility. This includes things ranging from changing the light bulbs to repairing broken windows, and many other common activities as well. Keeping up with these types of things help to ensure the facility remains in top working order.

When this type of general maintenance is neglected, the facility starts to fall into a state of disrepair. Things don’t work as they should, and productivity suffers. This type of neglect can even cause employees to have lower levels of morale, since they may feel that the company no longer cares about the facility. In addition, many times safety signs wear over time and become hard to read. Replacing safety signs (which you can find here) so that they are legible to read is important for the safety of employees. In addition, painted floor markings also wear over time and need to be redone periodically. Painted floor markings often peel quickly and make the floors unsafe. In order to combat this problem, floor markings should be replaced with a durable floor tape. Floor tape (like this floor tape) is very strong and quite easy to install. While much of this work may seem routine, it is still essential for the overall operation and safety of any facility.

Mechanical Maintenance

The upkeep, repair and maintenance of most machines in a facility will fall under the scope of a facility maintenance department. All machines, regardless of type, will break down eventually, and it is important that they can be properly repaired. Ideally, the facility maintenance team will be able to prevent most mechanical failures, so there is no interruption of work.

Maintenance professionals will understand the maintenance lifecycle of each machine in the facility, and keep up on it to reduce down time and extend the overall life of all the machines. This includes things like checking and changing lubricants in a machine, monitoring any errors or faults on machinery, watching for an increase in the number of defects coming from the machine, and much more. By monitoring these types of things, maintenance personal are able to take preventative action to prevent major problems.

Janitorial Maintenance

The cleaning, plumbing and other upkeep of a facility will also typically fall under the umbrella of a facility maintenance department. Keeping a facility clean is not just important because it looks nice. It is also essential because dirt and other debris can cause significant problems throughout the facility. When facilities are not kept clean, it is more likely that the following problems will occur:

  • Damaged Machinery – Dirt and debris can get into moving parts quite easily, which may cause significant damage. Dirty environments typically lead to dramatically shorter life spans for machinery and any moving parts.
  • Increased Safety Hazards – Keeping a facility clean helps to keep everyone safe. When an area is dirty, many of the safety signs and safety floor tape might get covered by dirt, dust and other messes. This will make it difficult, if not impossible, to see, which can cause a lot of safety hazards. Dirty floors are also often very slippery, which can cause a lot of safety problems.
  • Product Satisfaction – It is hard to keep a completed product clean in a dirty facility. When products are completed, they need to look perfect so they can be sold to customers. If a facility is dirty, it may be necessary to clean them repeatedly to get them to an acceptable level for customers.
  • Workplace Pride – People are much happier to work in an area that they can be proud of. When employers allow a facility to get dirty, employees will not be as proud of their job. This can cause a variety of problems for the facility.

Hiring Facility Maintenance Staff

When hiring facility maintenance staff, it is important to know what types of skills the facility needs. If there will be only one facility maintenance person on the team, than they need to be able to perform a wide range of tasks very well. If the facility has the budget for a large department, then each individual can specialize in one area.

Knowing exactly what a facility needs most can help with the hiring process. In order to know this, however, the facility needs to know what responsibilities the facility maintenance department will be handling. The above areas are a good starting point, but each facility needs to have their own list of responsibilities that will be handled by this department.

Part of the Team

No matter what type of facility is being maintained, it is important to ensure that the facility maintenance team is treated as the essential department that it is. Many facilities, unfortunately, tend to treat the facility maintenance team as a lesser department, but the fact is, they are what keeps the rest of the facility running smoothly.

Facility maintenance departments need to have the respect (and budget) to perform their jobs properly. When this is the case, companies can become more productive and operate with fewer problems. So, take some time to look closely at the facility maintenance department in your area, and see just how much it has helped improve the facility.

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