In the News
- MCC Completes New South Florida Campus Building for University
- Miller Completes Sereno at Bay Harbor Islands
- EliteHealth Medical Practice Facility
- Miller Fast-Tracking Flagler Global Logistics' CCP Bldg 1
- Miller Delivers Miami-Dade County’s Largest Industrial Project
- Miller Building ID Flagler Village Townhomes
- Construction Underway with Major Renovation for Fort Lauderdale MINI Dealership
- Miller Converts Industrial Space to Trendy Tapas Restaurant
- MCC Project Wins CASF Project of the Year
- Lane Hacker Joins Miller Construction Company as Controller
- Miller Building BMW East Showroom for Holman Automotive
- The Graham Companies Chooses Miller to Build New Education Facility
- Miller Construction Company Adds Three Executives
- Sudduth Named to UF School of Construction Management’s Advisory Council Executive Committee
- GuideWell-Sanitas Primary-Care Clinic Complete
- 602,657 SF Centergate at Gratigny
- Terranova Chooses Miller for Landmark Retail Project in South Beach
- Liberty Property Trust’s Metrorail Train Assembly Facility Complete
- Elite Healthcare Construction is Underway in Pembroke Pines
- Miller Construction Completes Third Phase At Lake Whitney Medical & Professional Campus
- Herbert Fung Joins Miller Construction Company as Project Manager
- Lake Whitney Medical and Professional Campus in St. Lucie
- City Furniture Chooses Miller Construction Company
- Miller Construction Company Building $20.8 Million Sereno at Bay Harbor Islands
- Miller Construction Company Completes Fort Lauderdale BMW/MINI Service Center
- Construction Association of South Florida Names Jeff Slade to Its Executive Board
- Project Manager, Justin Thorpe Joins Miller Construction Company
- Miller Construction's Special Projects Group Seeing Rapid Growth
- William Mason Joins Miller Construction Company’s Special Projects Group
- Ankit Patel Joins Miller Construction Company as Senior Preconstruction Manager
- Miller Construction Launches Major Renovation for Cosmo International Fragrances
- Miller Construction Company Completes Next-Generation Wharehouse
- Traci Miller Elected President of NAIOP South Florida
- Miller Construction Company Launches Special Projects Group
- Thomas & Harley Miller Are Inducted Into Construction Hall of Fame
- Building Mixed-Use Gateway Center Doral
- Holman Automotive Builds New Lauderdale BMW / Mini Service Center
- Miller Construction Company Will Build $22 Million Surfside Residence Inn by Marriott
- Flagler Development Taps Miller Construction Company For 252,000sf Project
- MCC Building 218,000 SF Transal Logistics Center in Doral
- Rose Miniaci Arts Education Center at Broward Center for the Performing Arts Gets Topped Off!
- Miller Construction Company Completes Flagler Development’s Latest South Forida Industrial /Warehouse
- Topping Off of Waterfront Huizenga Pavilion Marks Milestone
- MCC Awarded Flagler Development’s Building 31 Warehouse at Flagler Station
- Curtain Rising on Broward Center's Future
- New Ashley Furniture HomeStore in West Palm Beach
- Fisher Island Golf Club & Racquet Club Renovations Complete
- Fisher Island Club Spa & Fitness Center
- Two Local Construction Firms Will Complete Broward Center Project
- Renovation of Holman Automotive's Audi Pembroke Pines Dealership Complete
- MCC Fast-Tracks New Amenities at Rybovich Superyacht Marina
- Miller Construction Company Building Green Ashley Furniture HomeStore
- Going Green: LEED-HC Construction Standards Boost Hospitals’ Sustainability Efforts
- Miami International University's Professional Caliber Sound Studio
- Holy Cross Hospital Hurricane Hardening Project
- Best Practices Reduce Risks During Hospital Construction and Maintenance
- The Fast-Track Dos Caminos Restaurant Build-Out
- Kimberly Riehn, CPA, Joins Miller Construction Company As Controller
Best Practices Reduce Risks During Hospital Construction and Maintenance
By Wayne F. Hannaka, CIE
A vendor who walks into the ER with muddy boots, an electrician who lifts a dusty ceiling panel or a contractor who allows contaminated air to enter an intensive care unit are all jeopardizing patient safety and comfort.
From infection control to construction noise and debris, South Florida hospitals face critical issues whenever contractors and vendors work within their facilities. Certainly, the stakes are high. Of the 90,000 deaths a year from hospital-acquired infections in the U.S. healthcare system, a significant number may well be linked to construction and facility maintenance. Yet many hospitals do not systematically address risks to patient and staff safety from projects as large as a major facility expansion or as small as a single telecom worker called in to replace a cable or switch.
In contrast, hospitals have done an excellent job in adopting and monitoring fire prevention policies, as shown by the numbers: just five fire-related deaths annually.
Implementing formal Construction and Maintenance Policy and Procedures can significantly reduce health and safety risks, minimize disruptions to hospital operations and assure compliance with state and federal regulations. The following is a guide to incorporating best practices:
Choose the Right Team
Developing effective policies and procedures is best done by a multidisciplinary hospital team that may include representatives from engineering, security, risk management, nursing, infection control or other departments. A key issue is establishing a construction-specific infection control (IC) policy that meets current regulatory and compliance requirements. A contractor experienced in healthcare construction can assist at this stage.
Map Various Risk Zones
The team should conduct a hospital-wide infection control risk assessment (ICRA) to map and color code low, medium and high-risk zones. Precautions to be followed during construction or maintenance should be clearly noted for each zone. For example, any construction work in a cancer treatment unit might require safety measures such as isolating the HVAC system, creating negative air pressure, using HEPA filtration and wearing disposable shoe coverings when entering the work zone. Before a project begins, the risk map alerts contractors and vendors to the level of precautions required.
Provide Written Policy, Procedures
Use a written Construction and Maintenance Policy, drafted by the hospital’s team, to clarify the special requirements every contractor must meet when working on hospital property.
For small and large scale projects, give contractors and vendors a list of procedures, and task a member of the hospital’s facilities team to ensure compliance. The list should begin with the basics, including where to park, any uniform and badge requirements, location of lunch areas and restrooms and which elevators to use. This document would also focus on operational issues, such as timing of the work, noise reduction measures and when applicable, more complex project specific ICRA requirements.
Train at Regular Intervals
It’s important for the hospital or its general contractor to conduct periodic training sessions for subcontractors, vendors and appropriate hospital staff on construction-related health and safety issues, including IC procedures to reduce potential airborne and waterborne contaminants. Hospital staff, especially those who oversee contractors, should understand the policies and procedures.
Set Up a Permit System
To better manage construction work, many hospitals have created a permit system for any cutting, welding or soldering on a construction project. In this way, facilities management and other relevant departments are informed in advance of any such “hot work” scheduled by the contractor. Interim life safety management (ILSM) procedures should also be set up in advance of the project and communicated to hospital staff. Another safety precaution is setting up a “lock-out, tag-out” control on electrical panels to prevent anyone from turning on a circuit that has been shut down for a project.
Document and Monitor
Finally, the hospital should monitor the health and safety steps taken during a construction project and document findings. For instance, a facilities manager or environmental inspection and air quality testing may also be needed to complete compliance requirements.
By offering their knowledge and experience, contractors can be effective partners with South Florida hospitals in developing effective policies and procedures to safeguard patient health and manage construction-related risks.
Wayne Hannaka, Director of Healthcare Construction, Miller Construction Company, has been responsible for construction projects within healthcare facilities for over 25 years. He holds the American Society for Healthcare Engineers’ Healthcare Construction Certificate, and is designated a Certified Indoor Environmentalist by the Indoor Air Quality Association.