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The Maintenance Management Blog

December 16, 2014

How CMMS Helps Those With Certain Disabilities

How CMMS Helps Those With Certain Disabilities

As professionals in the reliability industry, we often get overlooked when it comes to just how important our jobs really are. When performed properly, maintenance managers" and workers" duties are not seen by the general public or, indeed, the companies they service. It is only when something goes awry that maintenance managers have a light cast on them. One specific area where our "unsung heroes" get little credit is their role in safety for the disabled and elderly community. We will look at the role of maintenance management in this environment in today"s blog post.

We take for granted the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to our safety in everyday situations. When we stay at a hotel, go on a cruise, or even open up a can of food, we rarely, if ever, stop to think about all of the steps it takes to ensure that our well-being stays intact. With as much care and diligence that goes into keeping us healthy, even more effort is put into keeping facilities and products safe for the elderly and disabled. Here is a list of a few of the key areas in this arena in which maintenance management plays a role.

Elevators

Unless you are claustrophobic, you probably never think twice before stepping into an elevator. However, a lot of effort goes into making sure they are up to code and functioning properly. Even something as simple as making sure the elevator stops level with the floor is crucial: If the elevator does not align evenly, the potential for a hazardous trip or fall increases dramatically.

Making sure sensors and safety cushions work in the door is also an important element, particularly for those with mobility issues, such as individuals on crutches or in wheelchairs. If a door closes too quickly or does not "sense" someone in its path, it could close on their leg or arm and cause serious harm.

In the event of a breakdown or emergency situation, the buttons and call box must work properly as well. Not only that, but they must be marked clearly so that passengers in a stressful event will know to use them and what steps to follow should an emergency occur.

Escalators and Stairs

Mobility is a big theme here, and with good reason. One of the biggest safety concerns for the elderly and disabled is catastrophic falls. A simple trip or stumble can lead to broken limbs or hips, concussions, strokes from brain injury, or, in worst-case scenarios, fatalities. In a society that is always on the go, every area of a building that provides us a means of conveyance or pathway must be secure.

Stairwells require proper lighting and stair grips to help reduce friction and avoid a person missing a step and tumbling down the steps. Guard rails on both escalators and stairs must be secure and slip-resistant. Even the doors leading into and out of stairwells can be a safety hazard. If they are too difficult to open, they can trap individuals inside or cause harm. If they"re too easy to push, a person could stumble due to forward momentum and overexertion.

Like elevators, escalators must have level entry and exit points (at the top and bottom of the steps), and special precautions have to be taken to ensure that clothing is not snagged at those entryways as well.

Other Maintenance Concerns for the Disabled

Other problem areas for the disabled and elderly in a facility include lighting in hallways and rooms for those with vision problems in low visibility situations, alarms and intercom systems for emergency situations, and even the floors themselves. A floor without slip-resistant coating or with cracks can cause numerous safety hazards for even the healthiest people.

This list is just a small fraction of the many ways CMMS", maintenance managers, and reliability professionals play a role in the well-being of those with disabilities or other health issues.

 

Lisa Richards

About the Author – Lisa Richards

Lisa Richards is an experienced professional in the field of industrial management and is an avid blogger about maintenance management systems and productivity innovation. Richards' undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering opened the door for her initial career path with a Midwest-based agricultural implement manufacturer with global market reach. Over a span of 10 years, Lisa worked her way through various staff leadership positions in the manufacturing process until reaching the operations manager level at a construction and forestry equipment facility. Lisa excelled at increasing productivity while maintaining or lowering operating budgets for her plant sites.

An Illinois native, Lisa recently returned to her suburban Chicago North Shore hometown to raise her family. Lisa has chosen to be active in her community and schools while her two young girls begin their own journey through life. Richards has now joined the MAPCON team as an educational outreach writer in support of their efforts to inform maintenance management specialists about the advantages in marrying advanced maintenance software with cutting-edge facility and industrial management strategies.

Filed under: CMMS, maintenance, People with disabilities — Lisa Richards on December 16, 2014