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Worcester Public Schools: Environmentally Preferable Purchasing for Vehicles and Buildings Maintenence

Project Details

Year: 2019
Location: Worcester
Project Manager: Lynn Rose

The Worcester Public School System (WPS) encompasses 62 school and operations buildings and grounds. This project focused on products and their uses for building trades and transportation workers. Building trades provide repair and maintenance services to the school buildings; transportation workers maintain and repair the large and small buses used in the school system. The project evolved in 6 phases:

  1. Identify safer alternatives to products with toxic chemicals
  2. Ensure product availability
  3. Develop purchasing criteria to support a program that will endure
  4. Pilot new products to establish their effectiveness
  5. Develop guidance materials - work practices, product management systems
  6. Develop training materials and train workers on the use and management of new products

Building Maintenance

The WPS Facilities Department operates and maintains the school system's buildings and grounds. The crew includes carpenters, electricians, glaziers, HVAC/steamfitters, plumbers, painters, and a locksmith. Their work takes place both during and outside of school hours. Health and safety concerns for the Facilities Department carry over to teachers, other staff, and the students. 

The key health and safety issues for safer product selection include:

  • Neutral pH (to the degree possible)
  • Non-flammable
  • Low VOC
  • No carcinogens, teratogens, reproductive hazards, neurotoxins, or asthmagens

Additional operational criteria include:

  • Usefulness for more than one type of project
  • Availability through the Massachusetts state vendor contract

Product categories included:

  • Lubricants
  • Penetrants
  • Adhesives
  • Caulks
  • Finishes and paints
  • Spill control materials

Vehicle Repair

Worcester Public Schools operates a garage for their smaller buses used for the school system's special needs population. They are in the process of creating their own fleet of larger buses, including building a new facility for repair and maintenance. This project identified two comprehensive  sources for training and compliance:

This page updated Monday July 06 2020