October 17, 2014
Why Maintenance Management and Safety Go Hand In Hand
When we discuss maintenance management and reliability issues, we generally focus on the bottom line, how you can use preventative and proactive maintenance strategies to save your company money or, better yet, increase revenue. After all, it's all about the mighty dollar, right? One other important topic, however, is how a sound PM plan and safety can (and should) go hand in hand.
Whether you are a facility manager or a maintenance manager in a factory or industrial setting, safety plays a huge role in your day-to-day tasks and should be a primary concern for your department. When we think of safety, however, we tend to think of it in terms of worker safety or making sure we replace that stairwell"s hand railing so no one slips and falls down the stairs. While that is good and should be a part of your maintenance plans, consider this: Forming your maintenance management plan around a safety-centric mindset can actually help your equipment run more smoothly and keep your PM plan on track.
Equipment failure not only leads to "that which shall not be mentioned" (aka downtime: oh no, I mentioned it!), which causes a loss of revenue and makes workers stand around twiddling their thumbs, but it can also be a cause of on-the-job or on-site injuries as well. One example of this would be a neglected roof that needs repair. Over time, the roof could leak, causing a fall and structural damage. By being mindful of these types of situations and taking a proactive maintenance stance, you can prevent both equipment and facility damage as well as personal injuries.
Another great benefit to taking a "safety first" maintenance stance is the fact that it will help you stay on top of compliance and regulatory standards. Chemical spills and burns can arise from faulty equipment and poor maintenance strategies, so knowing about these risks and listing them as a primary part of your maintenance schedule helps you reduce the risk of regulatory fees and fines as well.
One area of concern we do not touch upon nearly often enough is the air and water quality of a facility. This often-overlooked issue is just as important as any other safety concern, if not more so, as it can result in widespread illness and casualties under the wrong circumstances.
Consider moving facilities, cruise ships, and how poor air quality or contaminated water would affect the thousands of people on the boat. This applies to hospitals and schools as well. Of course, it is an added concern in a building where chemicals are being handled. While preventing shutdowns and evacuations is very important, nothing, not even money, should be placed higher on the list of a maintenance manager than worker and visitor safety.
So next time you have a meeting with your staff of higher-ups, be sure to put a safety-first spin on the agenda. Stress the importance of safety and how it can prevent equipment failure, loss of revenue, and, most importantly, loss of lives.