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What do Facility Managers Need to Know?
It’s a bit like throwing a firecracker
With the deadline of January 1, 2015 quickly approaching, facilities that are not in compliance with National Fire Protection Association 70E requirement run the risk of violating the new OSHA regulations. The mandate requires all equipment to be put in a location that is electrically safe prior to any worker engagement with or near the equipment.
The requirement also specifies that arc flash, arc blast, shock hazard, and electrocution risk should only be present when equipment is energized. When such equipment is being used, the owner is responsible for warning workers of potential hazards when working on energized electrical equipment.
Due to the high potential for danger and penalties caused by noncompliance, keep these six tips in mind to ensure your facility stays on the right side of the new regulations:
1) Have a complete written safety plan that directs activity appropriate for electrical hazards, voltage, energy level, and circuit conditions.
2) Perform an incident energy analysis, apply labels to equipment that define the arc flash boundary, and identify the personal protective equipment (PPE) that must be used within the boundary.
3) Provide an up-to-date electrical one-line diagram identifying sources of supply to specific electrical equipment.
4) Train employees to understand the specific hazards and safety-related work practices.
5) Purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and provide it for all employees that work in areas that are within the arc flash boundaries.
6) Design overcurrent protective devices and perform maintenance on electrical equipment to reduce the risk of failure and the possibility that employees will be exposed to electrical hazards.
Emily Aschinger Martin is president and CEO of Aschinger Electric.
Because contract cleaners and jansan distributors are becoming partners with their facility manager clients, they are probably going to be approached for help on some unusual carpet care issues. For instance, should a tenant move out of a multi-tenant office building, the building owner can expect the carpet in the vacated area to be market with potholes where furniture had been sitting. Are these permanent? If not, how can they be removed in a cost effective manner? Take a proactive approach to carpet maintenance to avoid or mitigate further issues down the road.
Because we already mentioned this one, we might as well address it first. Potholes, or dents imprinted in the carpet where furniture once sat is not a pretty picture, especially if you're trying to rent the space! One of the most effective ways to remove dents is to thoroughly vacuum the carpets. This should be followed by cleaning the carpets using a hot-water extraction method. Interim carpet cleaning methods such as bonnet or shampooing are not likely to help. Follow extraction by raking the carpets using a carpet rake. This a step many cleaning technicians have forgotten, but the rake can help pull up the carpet pile, removing the dents.
2) Dark Doorways
Have you ever noticed how the carpet under doorways tends to get dark while the rest of the carpet may look clean? This can also happen around floor-mounted air vents. Referred to as filtration soiling, this occurs in areas where there is concentrated airflow, which brings fine dust, soils, and contaminants. These soils and contaminants build up on the immediate carpet area and cause it to darken.
Filtration soiling is usually dry soil and is best removed by vacuuming, so if this is a recurring problem, direct cleaning professionals to spend more time vacuuming those areas. However, increasing vacuuming frequencies may only delay the problem. Eventually, these areas will turn dark. The Carpet and Rug Institute and many carpet care experts suggest the following ways to tackle this problem:
3) Carpet Reversal
Carpet reversal often happens directly after carpet extraction but it is not the fault of the extraction or the technician. What is happening is that there has been a change in the way the carpet fibers stand up and this causes them to reflect light differently. When carpet reversal happens after carpet cleaning, some areas may look darker than others, as if those areas never fully dried. Unfortunately, there are not many solutions to offer: the problem area can be extracted again, thoroughly vacuumed or even raked. However, while carpet reversal can be minimized, for the most part it cannot be corrected.
4) Soiled Walkways
Soiled walkways, also known as pathway soiling, is probably the most common problem facility managers must grapple with. The carpeted center area of a walkway, for instance a hallway, is dark and soiled while the surrounding areas look brand new. To make matters worse, over time the center areas can begin to show excessive wear and tear, requiring the carpets to be replaced in a relatively short period of time.
The first step in dealing with soiled pathways is to increase vacuuming frequencies. Pathway soiling is usually caused by dry soils, which are best removed by vacuuming. Most cleaning professionals and distributors know that all carpets do not need vacuuming every night. However, this does not apply to common area walkways. In fact, one of the best ways to tackle this problem is to have the carpets vacuumed during the course of the day as well as after hours.
If spots develop in the pathways, they should be treated and removed as quickly as possible. The problem here is that the soil from the spots can transfer to shoe bottoms and then be re-deposited further along the pathway or onto other carpeted areas. It can also cause carpet staining, which is much more difficult to remove than spots.
A step that can be taken to protect the carpet is to install matting over the problem areas. The mat not only helps protect the carpet but also collects soils and moisture, helping to prevent their spread to other carpeted areas. Many cleaning contractors use an interim cleaning method such as bonnet cleaning or shampooing to address this problem. This can help, but it can also make the problem worse. Using these methods, some of the chemical residue may remain in the carpet. It soon starts to attract more soils, to the detriment of the carpet's appearance. It should also be noted that bonnet cleaning and shampooing are not recommended by most carpet manufacturers and may even void the carpet's warranty.
If cleaning the carpet, use the hot water extraction method, the heat of the water is especially valuable when it comes to pathway soiling because it improves the effectiveness of the cleaning chemicals but even more, the heat helps dissolve soils in the carpet. Ultimately, this can make pathway cleaning easier and faster.
Bob Abrams is carpet care product manager for Nilfisk-Advance commercial business, reach him via his company website at www.usproducts.com.
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