Articles

Keeping up with compliance

a woman runs through compliance checks for the facility on a tablet device

Facilities management is an area that is rife with regulation. From complying with WHS regulation, fire safety standards, to aligning with internal policies, there are countless compliance risks that organisations need to be aware of and manage.

 

Each of these risks represents a potential point of failure for the facilities management team. And each point of failure, carries its own individual consequence for non-compliance.

 

By leveraging facilities management software, you can automate the hard work out of compliance obligations, achieving efficiency while reducing risk.

 

In this blog, we’ll look at some of the most common risks surrounding compliance in facilities management, and how FM software can help you overcome these.

Safety and Compliance

Gone are the days when managing work orders had to be submitted, organised and processed manually. Facilities management software, such as FMI Works, automates this process, keeping all work orders organised, and in one place.

By leveraging facilities management software, you can attain a clear picture of outstanding and deferred works, and evaluate the risk of these. Deferred works may start out innocuous, but can become a hazard if that backlog is allowed to swell.

Risk exposure is a consideration for businesses, as it represents a threat to continuing operations. Different organisations will have a different appetite for risk, however, generally projects reducing risk exposure are looked upon favourably.

Reducing backlog and outstanding work orders

Work orders can sometimes exist in inboxes for a fleeting moment, before being filed away in the backlog of future works. However, when we lose visibility of work orders in the backlog, items that would otherwise be routine maintenance risk being deferred for long enough to become a hazard.

For example, a fraying piece of carpet is low on the list of priorities when work orders are streaming in, so might be filed away as a future project. But the flow of work never slows, and after awhile, that AWOL work order is now references a significant trip hazard.

By attaining visibility over the backlog of work, risk is reduced through provision of information. If we know that carpet has been sitting there for a while, it is easier to appeal for additional resources to rectify it, before it becomes a hazard.

Maintaining compliance with WHS regulation doesn’t just keep you out of trouble, but keeps facility users safer. In addition to the thousands of dollars on the line if a compliance breach is discovered, reliance on outdated processes poses a human risk.

Communication of critical information

Too often, the hefty communication requirements on facilities managers are seen as a nice to have, rather than a compliance requirement.

It’s hardly the top of anyone’s priority list to be sending out status updates to facility users and stakeholders, but this is key to both meeting stakeholder expectations, and adhering to compliance requirements.

As the facilities manager, it falls within your remit to ensure these regulations are adhered to. However, the onus doesn’t end with you and your team.

Facility users

Facility users play a crucial role in ensuring the resolution of potential hazards. The process typically starts with a facility user emailing or calling the facilities team to report a hazard. From there, it’s in the hands of the facilities team to resolve the issue.

However, there are a few crucial steps added to ensure compliance with WHS regulation.

Firstly, when a hazard is reported, the key stakeholders up the line need to be informed, so the risk can be assessed. Facility users must be informed of the hazard, so they can observe a reasonable duty of care to protect themselves. Finally, status updates are to be provided, to ensure facility users, and stakeholders, know when the issue has been resolved.

All of these steps place the burden of communication onto the shoulders of the facilities manager, if they are to remain compliant.

Processes of the past left facilities teams sifting through piles of paper or sparring with spreadsheets for a simple status update. However these days, facilities management software can automate this process, reducing the risk of non-compliance from communications.

Reporting to key stakeholders

Providing visibility over facilities management operations to key stakeholders can help to better align with compliance requirements and internal policies.

Those key stakeholders carry a duty of care for all facility users. The information they need to fulfil that duty has to come from the facilities management team. In the past, providing relevant information was taxing on the facilities end, and difficult for stakeholders to interpret.

With facilities management software, key information is presented in simple visual dashboards. This makes it easier than ever to communicate complicated information quickly to stakeholders. Better still, these reports and communications can be automated, streamlining the process while aligning with compliance requirements.

By leveraging these dashboards, the hard work of finding, organising, and presenting information is done for you. This easily digestible format helps to get that important information across to stakeholders quickly, and leaves less room for interpretation.

Auditability and security

Facilities teams deal with huge amounts of data every day. That data, when used correctly, can transform facilities and drive them towards accomplishment of organisational goals.

When it comes to mitigating risks associated with that data, it comes down to ensuring the right data is available to the right people, at the right time. The goal is, to improve accessibility of data for stakeholders, without compromising on security.

Auditability

If an incident occurs at your facility, you’ll be required to report this to the regulating body. As part of their investigation, proof of due diligence must be provided, to prove the incident was an accident, and not a result of negligence.

Auditability is one of the biggest risk areas for facilities management. The ability to provide an asset history, including maintenance work conduced on that asset, is key to maintaining compliance.

Outdated processes leave teams rustling through filing cabinets or frantically searching for excel sheets to obtain necessary documentation. By leveraging facilities management software, you can bring up a complete asset history on the spot, meeting mandated requirements.

As cultural expectations shift, the timeframes within which this data must be provided are shrinking. To ensure accurate, timely auditability, cloud-based facilities management software is a must have.  

Data security

According to IBM, data breaches cost Australian businesses an average of $3.35M per breach. In a landscape where threats are evolving, becoming more prevalent and sophisticated, data security is increasingly important on the risk register.

Outdated processes amplify risks, storing information in physical manifests, or local drives. These processes can leave critical information exposed to risk of loss or destruction, through malicious actors or other means.

By leveraging cloud-based, centralised facilities management software, these risks can be significantly reduced.