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The Maintenance Management Blog

August 12, 2014

Avoid These Maintenance Management Disasters

Maintenance Management Disasters

It is every facility and maintenance manager"s nightmare: A breakdown in the maintenance plan (or its execution) causes a disaster of epic proportions. Whether it results in loss of profit or an injury on the property you are responsible for, accidents and machine breakdowns are something every person in the reliability industry works their hardest to avoid. In this quick blog post, we are going to discuss a few of the disasters that can occur and what you can do to prevent them.

Let's face it: Mistakes happen, and some incidents are unavoidable, no matter what precautions and preventative measures you take. If you are in the reliability and maintenance industry long enough, odds are good that you will either encounter a complete shutdown resulting in downtime, an accident that results in injury, or even a mishap that results in evacuation of the property.

Knowing how to respond and keeping your cool during these times is crucial, and having a plan in place prior to a disaster should be a part of every maintenance manager"s overall plan. If it isn't, finish reading this article, then go draft one: If something happens on your watch, you will thank me later!

Of course, doing everything you can to avoid these disasters is also pivotal, and to that end, here are some common disasters and how to (hopefully) avoid them.

How to Avoid Downtime

Just the word "downtime" sends a chill down the spine of even the most sturdy of maintenance managers. This type of maintenance disaster occurs when critical machinery or equipment breaks down in a facility and brings all work to a standstill.

Downtime can cost a company an incredible amount of money, wiping out an entire quarter"s worth of profit in severe cases. Not only are plants not producing products, but employees are left to twiddle their thumbs until equipment is back up and running again, all on the company"s dime. In a large facility, this adds up quickly. Never mind the cost of replacing the machinery and any overtime or consulting fees.

Sticking to a strict preventative maintenance schedule, using standardized maintenance checklists, and conducting routine inspections of the grounds and equipment are all great deterrents when it comes to downtime due to equipment failure.

How to Avoid Property Evacuation

If you are a facility manager responsible for a hotel, school, hospital, or other such property, issues leading to a property evacuation are something you certainly want to avoid. This type of disaster can be caused by a number of issues, including fire, flooding, structural damage... the list goes on and on. While some of the causes are out of your control, there are some steps you can take to avoid an evacuation.

As mentioned above, walking the grounds and inspecting known or potential problem areas will go a long way toward preventing a disaster. For instance, the roof of a building is a common problem area. By setting a routine inspection of the area, you may be able to detect small leaks before they have time to turn into a major problem. The same can be said of bathrooms, boiler room equipment, HVAC systems, and so forth.

How to Avoid Workplace Injuries

Of all of the types of disasters that can occur, perhaps the worst is when an accident resulting in an injury happens. Not only can it be costly from a financial perspective, but more importantly, its effect on individuals can be truly tragic.

Checking areas for poor lighting or water leaks that can result in slip-and-fall accidents, checking handrails on stairs, and similar routine checks can all help prevent accidents in a facility. Proper training of employees and strict procedural guidelines for working with machinery and chemicals is also critical.

At the end of the day, disasters are never 100% avoidable. But following some of the steps above should go a long way in helping you stop the ones that are preventable!


Lisa Richards

About the Author – Lisa Richards

Lisa Richards is an experienced professional in the field of industrial management and is an avid blogger about maintenance management systems and productivity innovation. Richards' undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering opened the door for her initial career path with a Midwest-based agricultural implement manufacturer with global market reach. Over a span of 10 years, Lisa worked her way through various staff leadership positions in the manufacturing process until reaching the operations manager level at a construction and forestry equipment facility. Lisa excelled at increasing productivity while maintaining or lowering operating budgets for her plant sites.

An Illinois native, Lisa recently returned to her suburban Chicago North Shore hometown to raise her family. Lisa has chosen to be active in her community and schools while her two young girls begin their own journey through life. Richards has now joined the MAPCON team as an educational outreach writer in support of their efforts to inform maintenance management specialists about the advantages in marrying advanced maintenance software with cutting-edge facility and industrial management strategies.

Filed under: maintenance disasters, maintenance management — Lisa Richards on August 12, 2014