Why I became dis-enchanted with facilities management a decade ago was brought back to me this morning. On the doors to the public toilets at Kendal Hospital was a sign, in bold on a yellow background, warning users that ‘air fresheners used in these toilets may cause discomfort to asthma sufferers’ ( I didn’t have a camera or phone with me at the time unfortunately)
So why continue to use? Even more so why continue to use in a hospital? So where do sufferers go?
I used to joke that a facilities management gut response was to put up a sign, I recall a presentation of mine way back, in 2004, titled “FM- Now Wash Your Hands” (Must find it!)
Surely if there is any hint that a material or product is harmful or cause discomfort, it should not be used it, full stop – ie the precautionary principle, core to for example the Living Building Challenge Materials red list.
The world of corporate social responsibility is moving on from do no harm, to positively do more good to improve health. Wouldn’t it be great it that sign read ‘air fresheners used in these toilets will enhance your health’. Instead the FM team know it may irritate asthma suffers, so do nothing, other than put up a sign and wash hands of responsibility?