When something goes wrong at your job site, it’s critical to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Equipment breakdowns slow production or stop it altogether.
Even a short break in productivity can greatly impact a company’s bottom line. According to Information Technology Intelligence Consulting’s 2017 Hourly Cost of Downtime and Minimum Reliability Requirements Survey, which polled more than 700 international businesses, 81 percent of respondents in 47 unique verticals said one hour of lost productivity costs more than $300,000.
But while business leaders will want to keep a close eye on the cost efficiency of certain actions, facility managers must also impress upon their workers the importance of safety. Being prompt with necessary or emergency fixes may serve to get an operation back on track, but maintenance tasks can be dangerous. A split-second accident can lead to equipment damage, human injury or even death. Being safe while performing maintenance is more important than fixing any issues the equipment may have.
When working with a centralized maintenance provider, companies can call on experienced equipment maintenance technicians for emergency repairs when breakdowns occur. These highly trained professionals know the unique features of various pieces of equipment, and are well-versed in performing maintenance on them.
Maintenance-related accidents can have severe consequences
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that maintenance activities were associated with a significant portion of workplace accidents. Reviewing 562 accidents that happened between 2000 and 2007 in the mining industry, the CDC found that four fatalities and 21 amputations occurred during maintenance as a result of a machine unexpectedly turns back on. Further, 25 percent of the 562 accidents involved maintenance and repair.
According to the CDC study, the most common type of equipment involved in maintenance-related accidents was conveyors. About 62 percent of the accidents reviewed were classified as “severe,” meaning they resulted in death or a permanent disability. Of these severe accidents, about one-fifth involved conveyor systems, most commonly with a worker getting entangled in the system. Maintenance and repair were the No. 1 activities that led to severe conveyor accidents.
Even in industries that aren’t as dangerous as mining, maintenance can still present major risks. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found similar results when reviewing 883 accidents across 10 different industries. Of these, about one-fifth directly involved equipment maintenance, repair, installation, inspection or similar work.
Reducing risks during maintenance tasks
Reenergizing equipment is one of the most common causes of accidents during maintenance procedures. Reenergized machinery can be extremely dangerous, but these instances can also be avoided through correct lockout and tag-out procedures.
All employees should be trained on lockout and tag-out best practices for the equipment they interact with regularly, even if they don’t repair it, as well as on safe maintenance procedures. Moreover, lockout and tag-out devices and procedures should receive a review at least once a year, according to OSHA. Enlisting the help of a centralized maintenance provider like Miner can reduce the risk of injury while performing maintenance tasks, especially if the facility manager can clearly articulate relevant lockout and tag-out processes to technicians.
Additionally, personal protective equipment should always be used when applicable. Facilities must have adequate stock of PPE so that all employees are protected against accidents. Further, employees should be properly trained on how to properly wear their PPE, when it must be worn and how to identify compromised equipment. To reduce risks in the workplace, companies must replace outdated PPE that lacks modern safety protections, or is beginning to show its age. Miner’s experts are trained on the latest PPE models and their benefits. When coming to a job site, they may be able to suggest upgrades that can improve employee safety at work.
Miner’s service professionals can also assist in the installation of new equipment. Installations are responsible for a small but persistent number of workplace injuries every year. By working with experts who are trained on the correct installation procedures, facilities can reduce the chances of employee injury during the process and prevent future injuries caused by improperly installed equipment.
Miner strives to promote safe and efficient work sites. To learn more about how planned maintenance, emergency maintenance and installation services, or to request a safety inspection, reach out to Miner today.