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Maintenance and engineering activities in institutional and commercial facilities present front-line technicians with a host of potential hazards, from electricity and working at heights to hazardous materials and powered equipment. For these reasons, managers must pay constant close attention to such issues as personal protection equipment, safety signage, and hazard communication.
The recent death of a maintenance technician offers a sobering reminder of just how dangerous the profession can be.
A University of Northern Iowa (UNI) employee died recently following a “major steam leak” in the Rialto Dining Facility. Kevin J. Bley, 61, died as a result of injuries from the incident in the steam distribution system tunnel. Bley had worked at the university for more than 10 years as a steamfitter.
According to the initial report, UNI facilities services informed administrators of a major steam leak at 8:39 a.m. in the Rialto, one of two major dining facilities on the Cedar Falls campus. Bley “was in the vicinity of the steam leak,” according to the initial report, which noted that emergency personnel were working to assess the leak.
No other workers were injured, according to UNI spokesman Aaron Clingingsmith. Officials didn’t immediately say whether Bley was working to resolve the earlier leak or why he was in the tunnel.
This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell — firstname.lastname@example.org — editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, and chief editor of Facilitiesnet.com.