Preventive Maintenance: Safety Topics - December 2018 - Week 1


The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines prevention as “The act or practice of stopping something bad from happening.” Sounds pretty basic, but are we really incorporating prevention into our daily lives? We hear a lot about prevention with regards to our physical health, but that isn’t the only place where preventive activities are needed.

It’s easy to get distracted during the period between holidays. This week let’s focus on being aware of what might happen at work and at home, and take steps to prevent a potential incident and protect us from all of the things out there that may go wrong.

Monday – Proactive Prevention

Often we don’t address preventive maintenance until there is an incident. Get ahead of the game! Review all of your near miss reports for the past 3 months. Many of them probably occur due to a lack of preventive activities – both mental and mechanical. Here are some real near examples of root causes from actual near misses in manufacturing facilities for you to watch for:

  • Tools and/or equipment not stored properly or left in the wrong area, interfering with regular operations                                   
  • Engaging in non-standard, non-routine work
  • Placement of hands in areas that are not clearly visible
  • Not verifying and/or completing all steps in a multi-step process
  • Working without following standard work procedures
  • Equipment not functioning normally

These root causes are not exciting. They are shortcuts that we take when we are distracted or rushing. During this time of year, at the end of the year and between holidays, there can be pressure to complete orders, inventory parts, and get all the party supplies. Don’t lose focus – these root causes could have been avoided by utilizing preventive measures.  

Tuesday - Preventive Maintenance – On Ourselves

Mental and physical preparation is something we all know that we need, it is like preventive maintenance for our brains and bodies. We have talked before about the importance of focus and mental alertness in the workplace, we know that it is crucial to maintaining a safe work place. We prepare for sports games, work meetings, and school tests, but how much time are we spending on our daily mental preventive maintenance?

Today (and every day) is a great day to take a few moments out before you start your day’s work to let the thoughts of home clear out of your head, let stresses go for the time being and start work clear and ready for the day. Struggles, stresses and the burdens of personal life weighing on your mind while you are at work is a hazardous combination. Dropping your 'mental' guard can pull your focus away from safe work procedures.

Also, keep in mind that confidence is a good thing; overconfidence is too much of a good thing. "It'll never happen to me" is an attitude that can lead to improper and unsafe procedures, tools, or methods in your work. Any of these can lead to an injury. 5 quick and easy things to do to perform preventive mental maintenance:

  • Sleep – Try and do a crossword puzzle when you’ve been up all night. Not so easy right? Sleep is when our bodies rest and our brains recharge. There is no substitute for a good night sleep.                        
  • Meditate – Not a rest period, meditation allows you to actively clear your thoughts and focus only on the present moment. Meditation is a great stress reliever and sharpens your ability to focus.
  • Get a Hobby – Do you have a deficit of fun in your life? We are adults but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to have some fun. Figure out your hobbies and enjoy them often.
  • Get Creative – Find an outlet for your thoughts and express yourself. Painting, dancing, singing and writing are all great ways to share and communicate your thoughts and feelings.
  • Veg Out! – Give yourself permission to do nothing but relax and de-stress. We are used to being on the go all the time, but it is ok and healthy to relax and unwind too.

Wednesday- Preventive Maintenance – On Equipment

Preventive maintenance is regularly scheduled work that is conducted on machinery and equipment to reduce the risk of failure/breakdown. Routine preventive maintenance increases reliability and lifespan of equipment while reducing maintenance costs, downtime, incidents from non-routine repair work and the need for significant repair work. Preventive maintenance includes inspection of equipment, cleaning, and lubrication, replacing parts, completing needed repairs and maintaining equipment service records.

To assist with preventive management, keep an inventory of the least reliable and most critical machine components on hand and replace equipment that frequently breaks down. There are a million reasons why preventive maintenance gets pushed down the priority list but regularly occurring preventive maintenance can help keep employees safe, stop critical equipment failure and help keep production moving. If your workplace is lacking a preventive maintenance program, take the time today to start putting a program in place.

Thursday - Preventive Maintenance – On the Work Task 

As we know, there is an increased likelihood of incidents stemming from non-standard, non-routine work. When we try and make things work, we can often come up with great solutions but we can also come up with injuries. Job Hazard Analysis (JHA's) are an effective way to figure out the smartest ways to work safely and effectively, especially when doing work that is not familiar and predictable. Being hasty in starting a task or not thinking through the process can put you and your coworkers in harm’s way.

Instead, Plan Your Work and then Work Your Plan! Never start a task with incomplete instructions. If the job is new, you must review. To do the job safely and right the first time you need to know and understand all of the steps involved. Have you ever been sent to do a job, having been given only a part of the job's instructions? Don't be shy about asking for explanations about work procedures and safety precautions. It isn't a hassle or waste of time – it is time well spent on injury prevention!

Friday - Freestyle Friday

What kind of personal preventive maintenance will you do this weekend?
What preventive maintenance needs to happen on the equipment in your work area, and when is it next scheduled?
What preventive maintenance do you need to do on your specific work tasks?
What preventive maintenance is due (or overdue) on your personal vehicle?

Tags: safety topics , injury prevention , emergency management ,

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