Preventative and Predictive Maintenance Pays Benefits for Manufacturers
Posted by Michael S. on August 23, 2018 in Manufacturer Focus

Manufacturing facilities depend on their production machinery to stay in business.  Investing in Preventative Maintenance (PM) and Predictive Maintenance (PdM) strategies can help.  But did you know that these maintenance strategies can also help prevent injuries?  When equipment goes down unexpectedly, beyond any initial associated injuries, it creates additional unsafe situations through emergency maintenance. 


Emergency maintenance is considered the minimal repair work that is necessary to get equipment up and running again, sometimes without focus on safety.  When equipment fails suddenly, it typically starts a series of decisions fueled by panic rather than rational thinking with the underlying goal of getting production running as quickly as possible.  This often leads to unsafe behaviors such as:


  • Rushing
  • Using the best person available instead of the best person for the job
  • Not being prepared for the specific tasks


When employees are rushing to do their job, they may overlook key details.  In emergency maintenance, this could be forgetting to lockout the equipment, leaving a machine guard off after the repair is completed, or not notifying the affected employees that the equipment is about to restart.  When rushing, employees might also try to lift heavy loads without taking the time to get assistance putting them at risk for an overexertion injury. 


Additional hazards exist when someone is assigned to complete the repair who isn’t qualified, trained, or even familiar with the equipment.  Manufacturers wouldn’t typically assign someone to a task without appropriate knowledge, but in emergency maintenance the repair task is often assigned to the employees that there at the time of the breakdown.  Without proper training, employees can make a mistake that can injure themselves or someone else. 


Finally, emergency maintenance often leads to completion of non-routine tasks.  When employees aren’t used to doing something, they can overlook injury hazards. For instance, employees that don’t typically work from heights, may find themselves working at an elevated position to access the equipment and may not consider the need for fall protection.   Injuries associated with non-routine tasks may not occur frequently, but they are often severe.  


By using PM and PdM strategies including equipment analysis based on vibration, temperature, sound, or positioning, manufacturers can help determine when equipment is likely to reach a failure point.  This allows for:


  • Planning for specific repair time
  • Scheduling repairs so that someone that is properly trained can complete the work
  • Completing a job hazard analysis and developing safety controls for non-routine tasks.


In this way, with preventative maintenance not only are breakdowns averted, but emergency maintenance is also reduced.  Injury prevention through planning.

Michael S. is our Manufacturing guru
I have over 40 years experience in a broad range of manufacturing areas. Starting with an apprenticeship in Germany I’ve worked my way through a variety of positions within the manufacturing field. I got my start as a Tool and Die maker. I next became a supervisor of a class A tool room, then manager of a machining department. I was exposed to lean manufacturing in the mid 90s and adapted the lean philosophy. Loving and teaching the lean approach, I moved on to become a Continuous Improvement manager which led to a job as a manufacturing manager. I joined Acuity in 2015 as their manufacturing expert. I hope to evolve how manufacturers deal with and think about insurance companies, as well as be a resource to my fellow employees – enabling them to better understand the unique needs of manufacturers.

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Posted By: Michael S. on October 10, 2019 in Manufacturer Focus
Michael Rothschild has more than 20 years of experience in security. Prior to his role at industrial security vendor Indegy, Michael worked in product management and marketing roles with Thales, RSA, Dell, Juniper Networks, and Radware. He taught marketing at Yeshiva University and currently occupies a board seat at Rutgers University. In his spare time, Michael volunteers as an emergency medical technician.