• Digital Marketing by King Kong
  • Back to Blog

    How the Wrong Systems are Costing Aged Care Centres

    Are your systems fit for purpose, or is it time for a review?

    Hospitals and aged care centres tend to be multistorey buildings. And multistorey buildings often require roof access for maintenance and servicing – but not always!

    Many aged care centres have systems far more complex than needed. And this can compromise safety and compliance, when there may be more practical and safer alternatives that are a better fit for purpose. Not to mention the cost savings in maintenance bills and annual inspection fees!

    When it comes to keeping residents, maintenance, and care workers safe, it’s time for a fresh look at the equipment choices for height safety systems in these places.

    Attic ladders, a smart option or not?

    Attic ladders are a sensible height safety solution for many hospitals and aged care homes. So long as they are installed safely, and in areas where they’re not a hazard or hindrance to residents.

    We’ve seen aged care facilities with four or five attic ladders, which all extended down into communal areas, main walkways or thoroughfares. When they could easily have been designed to be accessed from a utility room or storeroom for example.

    In these situations, improperly designed systems make maintenance access awkward, as well as dangerous for tenants using those spaces.

    The last thing you want is an elderly resident climbing up attic ladders and trying to get up onto the roof. And we’ve also seen incidents where attic ladders weren’t installed correctly and could easily fall out of a suspended ceiling and land on a resident.

    In these scenarios, a simple step ladder would suffice – removing both the danger hazards and cost of maintenance.

    Note:attic ladders should be inspected annually to ensure that they are installed correctly, all the fixings are still in place, and they’re not going to drop out of the ceiling!

    How practical are roof anchor point systems, and are they necessary?

    Anchor point systems are commonly installed on care home roof tops, even when roof access is not necessary.

    In some cases hospitals and aged care homes are sold these systems to service gutters from the roof, when the gutters could be serviced from the ground via a portable ladder, gutter vacuums, or with scissor lifts.

    We’ve heard first account stories of maintenance workers trying to use existing anchor systems and either falling through skylights or sliding off the end of the roof – scary stuff!

    Even more concerning is the reality that maintenance workers don’t clip in!

    Imagine contractors up on the roof doing regular maintenance, carrying filters, gas bottles, tools and equipment. Hooking and unhooking every four or five metres is just not practical for them. So instead they walk straight to the plant area to service their equipment without hooking into the safety systems.

    Our height safety specialist’s have seen buildings completely covered in roof anchors with 20+ ladder bracket accesses, when only one step ladder was needed for roof access.

    In one example the client is now left with a $7-8,000 a year inspection bill, which could be $1,500. If the design had been planned correctly.

    It pays to get it right first time.

    Could your new solar panel system be compromising existing height safety systems?

    In older aged care facilities, retro fitted solar panel systems are becoming more common. However in many cases these have been installed directly over the existing height safety system – either making it redundant, or requiring it to be redesigned.

    In these situations, maintenance teams working on the roofs are at high risk – with no height safety system protection whatsoever.

    If you’ve had solar panel systems installed recently, and you’re not sure if your height safety systems have been compromised, an audit / risk assessment would give you the assurance you need.

    How to reduce costs of compliance and inspections

    Maintenance costs can be a major hindrance for hospitals and aged care facilities. And compliance issues are common.

    Where hospitals might have height safety engineering teams or contractors looking after building maintenance, aged care facilities don’t typically have the same resources. But equipment still needs to be regularly maintained for compliance to avoid hefty fines!

    If your aged care centre operations managers are doing some of the maintenance themselves, it makes sense to have systems that are fit for purpose and make their jobs easier.

    With the right systems in place, you can reduce costs and avoid having to spend more than necessary on servicing and maintenance.

    Book in an audit or risk assessment for peace of mind

    If you’d like a review of your existing systems, get in touch.

    We’ll audit them and carry out risk assessments that will highlight any safety concerns.

    We can help you save from spending on the wrong systems now and into the future.