Building Safety Month

Topics: Loss Control

Summary: Building Safety Month was created by the ICC to celebrate the advances in construction of safe, reliable and resilient buildings and homes. Learn more about the 2023 theme and what business owners can do to ensure their buildings are up to code and safe for employees, customers, vendors and partners. 

Building Safety Month 2023: It Starts With You

For over 40 years, the International Code Council (ICC) has celebrated advances in the construction of safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient buildings and homes during Building Safety Month. Together with its 64,000 members and professionals in the building construction, design and safety communities, government agencies, professional associations and nonprofits, the ICC promotes Building Safety Month to raise awareness about the importance of building safety as well as to promote the critical role modern building codes have in creating safer and more resilient communities.

The ICC’s mission is “to provide the highest quality codes, standards, products and services for all concerned with the safety and performance of the built environment.” Staying within compliance of the ICC codes, as well as those developed by entities such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and local, county or state codes, while following risk management tips can help reduce unnecessary costs and accidents in the workplace.

The 2023 theme for Building Safety Month, Building Safety Starts With You!, highlights how building safety impacts everyone on a personal, local and global level. The enforcement of building codes allows communities to successfully prepare for disasters and protect them from future unforeseen incidents. Complying with building safety codes and the officials who enforce them can help communities mitigate the risks of injuries, property damage and even death should a disaster occur.

building safety month 2023

Along with disaster preparedness, the goals of Building Safety Month include education on issues like water safety and sustainability. Additionally, looking towards the future with modern building codes and creating safe, reliable and healthy buildings by keeping the next generation of building safety professionals motivated is essential to the campaign.

Celebrating Building Safety Month 2023

Throughout May, each week of Building Safety Month focuses on a different initiative:
  • Week 1 - Building Safety Starts at Home: Week one of Building Safety Month focuses on how building safety impacts our every day life as family members, friends and individuals at home. ICC will share fire saftey tips, home maintenance best practices and sustainable tips for a cleaner and greener future. 
  • Week 2 - Building Safety Professionals and You: Week two introduces individuals to the important role that building safety professionals play in keeping our homes, schools and businesses safe.
  • Week 3 - Prepare Your Community: Knowing how to properly prepare for natural disasters like floods, hurricanes and tornadoes increases the health and safety of the community. When building codes are adopted and enforced, it can not only save billions of dollars and protect property for generations to come, but also save countless lives.
  • Week 4 - Advocate for Your Community: Week four will provide all the tips and tools individuals need to advocate for building safety within their communities. We all have a role in making sure the places where we live, play and work are safe.
  • Week 5 - Solving Challenges Together: Week five addresses how some of the issues we face as a global community impact us all, like extreme weather events and water scarcity. 

Building Safety Tips for the Workplace

Managing risks that could lead to injuries or accidents in the workplace is essential for businesses of all sizes. With so many building codes to adhere to and new ones popping up all the time, business owners may wonder if their organizations are “up to code” – and how to maintain compliance going forward. However, remember that proper risk management can help prevent accidents, injuries and fines for infractions that can cost thousands of dollars.

Workplace Safety Tips

This Building Safety Month, here are a few tips that can help your organization maintain code compliance, and ensure the safety of your employers in the workplace:
  • Inspect walkways and parking lots. Check parking lots by looking for potholes, depressions and uneven walkways or wheel stops in parking spaces that need repairing. Provide proper marking for changes in elevation, parking stops and parking spaces.
  • Help prevent slips, trips and falls. Install non-slip stair treads or slip resistant stair coverings. Use caution markers for wet areas, and clean up any spills immediately to further decrease the risk of slips, trips and falls. Place rain mats at all entry points, and use non-slip mats for wet areas, such as around ice machines or sinks.
  • Provide proper lighting and means of egress. Make sure emergency lighting is installed and in good condition; create a testing program to ensure they are in working order at all times. All exit signs should be identified and illuminated with a clear, unobstructed path to the exit.
  • Review electrical components. Wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms should have ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) breakers installed, and these should be inspected regularly. Check electrical panels for missing breakers and covers, and establish a clear space of 36 inches around them.
  • Properly install railings and balusters. Guardrails should have a height of at least 42 inches, while balusters should not exceed four inches apart. Provide handrails for steps with four or more risers, and prevent climbing hazards by removing or protecting horizontal balusters.
  • Maintain alarms and detectors. All buildings should have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that are hardwired and have a battery backup. Implement a testing program to ensure they remain in good working condition throughout the year.
  • Check exterior fire escapes. If there are AC units blocking egress onto fire escapes, make sure to remove them. The ladder mechanism should be inspected for proper functioning, and verify that there is access to the street from the fire escape. Every five years, a complete inspection and test should be completed by a Registered Professional Engineer (RPE), to evaluate critical components, such as capacity, structural stability, tiebacks for corrosion or hidden defects.
  • Service and inspect fire sprinkler systems. Properly service and inspect fire sprinkler systems in accordance with all applicable regulations and standards. Keep inspection records on file and have the system monitored by a central station.
  • Create an emergency response plan. In the event of an emergency, it’s crucial to set up a response team and develop an evacuation plan. Designate a trusted individual to call 911 and direct first responders to the location.
Keep in mind that the proper permits must be obtained prior to any renovations of commercial property. Always hire qualified and insured contractors to maintain the building, and designate a manager within your organization to handle code compliance. This individual can also be responsible for conducting self-inspections to help identify issues before they arise. Additionally, remember that building codes can change over time, so business owners should continually to familiarize themselves with the local codes.

Loss Control Services from AmTrust Financial

AmTrust’s Loss Control Department can help your small business assess the conditions, practices and processes of the workplace to help identify hazards in the workplace. We are dedicated to providing the right resources to create the most effective loss control program for your specific needs. Policyholders also have access to over 700 streaming video training materials that include workplace safety, transportation safety, active shooter, emergency preparedness, human resources and more.

For more information, please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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