As more people return to work at one of the Lab sites, Facilities is working hard to handle an influx of service requests. In this conversation with Tamatha Thompson, Business Systems Analyst, Facilities Division, we review reminders and updates about the work order request process.
Q: For those who are coming to a Lab site for the first time, or for those who may need a refresher, can you describe how someone would request Facilities assistance, and what happens with that request?
Anyone with an LDAP can request Facilities services through our Work Request Center (WRC). Once in the WRC, you select the type of work (general, custodial, transportation, etc.) and complete the online form. When you click “submit”, the system generates a work order number, which will appear on the screen.
A submitted work order enters our system and, within 24 business hours, is assessed (triaged) and prioritized. The GL account is updated, and the work order is routed for the appropriate next steps. Next steps could include:
- The work order is considered minor maintenance and fast-tracked to the schedule
- It is sent to planning for further evaluation and hazard assessment
- It is sent back to the FAM for additional information.
You can look up any work order at any time in the WRC.
Q: What are the biggest changes in the work order process since March 2020?
The biggest change was to the WRC website, which is workrequest.lbl.gov. The updated WRC site was launched in November 2020 with several great features suggested by Lab employees to make it easier to submit and find work orders. The biggest updates are:
- Key categories – based on feedback, we separated different work categories, like Custodial Services and Key Services, to make them easier to find.
- Attachments – in the General Work category, which includes general maintenance, alterations, and improvements, we added the ability to attach documents or photos to the work request form. Before, you had to send a separate email. This is really helpful for hard to describe issues or complicated equipment.
- Increased lookup functionality – You can now look up any work order in the request center, not just work orders that you submitted.
Facilities plans additional updates to the WRC to make it even more user friendly, including adding the attachment function to other work categories, and creating a glossary of terms for work order status codes.
Q: What do you want people who have not been on site ever/for a long time to do?
I want to mention the Technical Area Designation (TAD) database.
Some labs and technical spaces contain potentially hazardous equipment or materials. Several years ago, Facilities worked with researchers to create a process to ensure that work can be performed safely in technical areas where work environment hazards exist. Division safety coordinators (DSCs) can add controls in the Technical Area Designation (TAD) database that let Facilities know if the space requires an escort and/or if someone must give approval before requested work can be done.
What we’re finding, after two years of the pandemic, is that information in TAD is outdated. If incorrect information is listed – for example, if the designated work approver has left the Lab – then that can slow down work as Facilities tries to notify the correct people to approve and release the work orders.
We’re also finding spaces that may not need these added controls. TAD was developed to enhance work safety in technical areas where hazards exist. We’re finding spaces that probably should not be flagged as having hazardous work environments, like cubicles. It takes longer to authorize work in spaces that are flagged, so those designations really should be reserved for areas where greater access control makes sense.
This is a great opportunity for supervisors to review their spaces in TAD and, as needed, work with their DSC to update the information. Anyone can view TAD information, and DSCs are all authorized to make updates.