Facilities Safety: Physical Plant Maintenance at ISCC Institutions

ISCC member institutions – from independent schools to museums and cultural centers – are cornerstones of learning, creativity, and community. But ensuring the safety of students, patrons, staff, and volunteers requires vigilance beyond educational programs and exhibits. Here at the ISCC, we recognize the critical link between physical plant maintenance and the well-being of those who visit and work within our member institutions.

The Price of Neglect:

A recent report by the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) revealed a staggering truth: deferred maintenance in US educational facilities alone totals an estimated $800 billion. This backlog can breed a multitude of safety hazards, including:

  • Fire Risks: Faulty wiring, malfunctioning fire alarms, and inadequate sprinkler systems all elevate fire risks.
  • Slip & Fall Injuries: Uneven walkways, cracked floors, and leaking roofs can become serious slip and fall hazards. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls are the leading cause of nonfatal workplace injuries.
  • Mold and Toxin Exposure: Poor ventilation and leaky roofs can create environments conducive to mold growth, which poses serious health risks.

Safety First: Proactive Maintenance Strategies

ISCC encourages all members to make physical plant maintenance a core function. Here are some key steps to take:

  • Develop a Comprehensive Maintenance Plan: This plan should outline a schedule for routine inspections, repairs, and replacements of critical infrastructure elements.
  • Regular Safety Assessments: Conduct regular assessments of buildings and grounds to identify potential hazards and address them promptly.
  • Invest in Preventative Maintenance: Proactive maintenance is often more cost-effective than addressing major repairs down the line.
  • Allocate Necessary Resources: Budgeting for necessary repairs and upgrades is essential for maintaining physical plant safety.

ISCC is dedicated to supporting our members in their safety efforts. We offer a variety of resources, including:

  • Webinars and workshops on best practices in physical plant maintenance.
  • Benchmarking tools to help institutions compare their maintenance practices with others.
  • Networking opportunities to connect with maintenance professionals and share best practices.

Building a Culture of Safety

ISCC member institutions can create secure and healthy environments for everyone who enters their doors. Remember, investing in safety isn’t just about protecting buildings and collections – it’s about protecting the well-being of our communities.

Contact the ISCC today to learn more about our resources and programs designed to help you ensure the safety of your institution.

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