How many CMMS users should you have?

If you’re looking to implement a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), one of the first questions you should ask is, how many people should be using the software? It would be great if there were a simple answer, but unfortunately, there isn’t. In this article, you’ll learn the key considerations for determining how many users you should have in your CMMS based on your unique situation.

The big question: How many CMMS users should you have?

The answer to this question depends on the size of your organization and how many people are using the maintenance software. If your company has fewer than 20 employees, a basic CMMS is likely sufficient for your needs. However, upgrading to an enterprise-grade solution may be necessary if you have more than 50 employees in a single location or multiple locations who need access to the same data at once (for example, field workers).

There are some questions you can ask to evaluate whether or not you need more CMMS users for your company. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How often will the employee use the CMMS daily?
  2. How will using the CMMS benefit the employees’ day-to-day tasks?
  3. Does the employee need to access data from the CMMS regularly?

The answer to these questions will help you determine whether to include the employee in question on your CMMS.

What are the advantages of having fewer CMMS users?

There are several advantages to limiting the number of people with access to your CMMS. It’s easier to manage, works better for small businesses, and is less expensive. If you’re just starting out or if your business is small, having fewer users will make it easier for everyone in the company to get up to speed quickly because there won’t be as much data generated by each person using the system. In addition, training new employees can be done more efficiently since they will have less data at their fingertips when they first start using the software.

What are the disadvantages of having fewer CMMS users?

The disadvantages of having fewer CMMS users include:

  • Less flexibility for employees. If you have a small number of users, each one will have to be able to use the software to complete their tasks. This means that if one person goes on vacation or leaves the company, it could take several days before another person can take over their responsibilities and get back up-to-speed with how things work with your CMMS (and even longer if they’re unfamiliar with how it works).
  • More work for maintenance departments and administrators. In addition to being more difficult for employees who need to become more familiar with using your CMMS, more calls will likely come in asking how things work within the program. This could lead some people in these roles to be overwhelmed by requests within their department and external requests from people who need help navigating certain features.
  • You get trapped in a hybrid work model. One common strategy for maintenance departments is to keep CMMS users to a minimum and print paper work orders for technicians—creating a hybrid work model. The problem with the hybrid approach to maintenance is that you’re taking one step forward by getting a CMMS, then two steps back by not using it to its full potential. This creates a host of problems. For example, your team might still print work orders and enter them into the system at the end of the day. In this situation, you don’t have a full picture of what’s happening in your facility. On top of that, your team isn’t getting real-time updates when the status of a piece of equipment changes.

What are the advantages of having more CMMS users?

The more CMMS users you have, the more projects can be worked on simultaneously. This is especially important if you’re working in an environment where projects are always changing and being updated. It also means that when one person is busy with something else, another user can jump in and get something done while waiting for them to return.

Another advantage of having more than one user is that they can share knowledge and experience. This will help improve everyone’s skills and create a better understanding of how things work within the CMMS.

Having multiple users also makes it easier to train new employees because other people already know what they’re doing (or at least have some idea). Plus, there’s less pressure on just one person having all this responsibility placed upon them. Instead, there’ll likely be several people looking after various aspects of training, so there’ll always be someone available if questions arise during training sessions.

Logging information in your CMMS immediately means you have a much fuller picture of the state of your assets. And when it comes time to generate reports, your historical data will be much more precise. Working with a CMMS lets your team provide detailed updates and information on all your assets as they go, so no information gets lost.

Learn how to justify the cost of a CMMS to management

What are the disadvantages of having more CMMS users?

The disadvantages of having more CMMS users are as follows:

  • More data to manage. If you have too many users, it will be difficult for them to keep track of all the information in their system, and it can lead to errors.
  • More problems with the CMMS. If you have too many users, there is a greater chance that someone will make a mistake when entering data into the system or running reports—causing problems like inaccurate reports or missing data points in your CMMS database.

The number of CMMS users you have is based on the size of your business

The number of users you should have actively using your CMMS depends on your company’s needs and resources. We recommend you consider each scenario’s advantages and disadvantages before making a decision.

Source: https://fiixsoftware.com/blog/how-many-cmms-users/

Why do I need a maintenance work order system?

You’re a maintenance manager, and you’ve got more on your plate than just keeping the lights on. You’re in charge of keeping a facility running smoothly and safely for your employees, contractors, and visitors—and that means making sure everything is up to date and working correctly.

But how do you get it all done? How do you know when something needs fixing?

Fortunately, there’s an easier way for maintenance managers to keep track of their team’s work orders: a maintenance work order system.

What is a maintenance work order system?

A maintenance work order system is a computerized database of equipment and parts. It’s used to track when maintenance needs to be performed, what work should be done, and where it needs to be performed. Maintenance work orders are also known as PMRs (planned maintenance reports), MOTS (maintenance operations technical standards), EPRs (engineering change proposals), or preventive/corrective action plans.

Do I need a work order system?

If you think your operation is too small to need computerized maintenance management software (CMMS), think again. Everybody has maintenance needs, whether they ignore them or not, and work orders are what get maintenance done. If work orders aren’t planned and executed properly, you might as well give your money away. The secret to cutting maintenance costs is a good work order system, and here’s why you need one:

1. Reduce equipment failures

Whether you manage a large factory or run a community center, you buy insurance. Traditional insurance protects you from unexpected problems but sometimes doesn’t cover the cost of extensive damage. The best kind of insurance to buy is the kind that prevents the problem from happening in the first place. The problem, in your case, is unplanned asset downtime, and the insurance is a work order system.

Work order system software ensures preventive maintenance gets done on schedule, saving the most expensive maintenance issue of all: Downtime. It reduces equipment failures by:

  • Helping you keep track of maintenance tasks and schedules
  • Identifying equipment failures
  • Prioritizing repairs, so repair work is done in a timely manner and with the right parts
  • Keeping records of equipment failures and their causes can be helpful when it comes to preventing future breakdowns or other problems with the same piece of equipment

2. Extend asset life

Every piece of equipment or infrastructure you own is an asset. Every asset has an annual operating cost, which includes purchase financing or cash outlay spread over its lifespan. Although you don’t see that cost every day, you still pay it and feel it at the end of the year. A work order system extends asset life by helping you:

  • Conduct preventive maintenance. Regular inspections and service help to prevent expensive repairs, which can extend the life of your assets.
  • Improve quality control: The data collected through a maintenance work order system gives managers insight into how much time is spent on each asset at each location, helping them identify areas where they could improve efficiency.

3. Save money on parts and supplies

In a CMMS, the work orders are linked automatically to your parts inventory. You save money because it helps:

  • Reduce the number of parts purchased
  • Cuts inventory in your storeroom
  • Reduces the number of parts that are returned unused
  • Minimizes the amount of time spent on ordering parts

4. Boost maintenance productivity

No doubt about it, maintenance requires an investment. A maintenance work order system can help boost productivity by:

  • Reducing the time spent on paperwork. Keeping track of all your maintenance tasks, scheduling them, and updating them is very time-consuming. A good maintenance work order system will automate this process and make it easier for you to manage your assets in one place.
  • Helping to prioritize work. If you need clarification on which asset needs attention first or if any safety issues need immediate attention, then using a CMMS can help identify these things quickly so they don’t get overlooked.
  • Identify equipment that requires repair or replacement by looking at its history of service requests over time (e.g., this machine broke down last week versus this machine has never broken down before).

5. Improve health, safety and compliance

A maintenance work order system is a critical component of any facility. It’s the single source of truth for all maintenance tasks, providing a clear picture of what needs to be done and when. This makes it easier for managers and employees alike to know their responsibilities, making them more efficient at their jobs—and safer.

A work order system can also help you improve compliance with safety standards by making sure that all necessary inspections are being conducted regularly and on time. This reduces the risk of accidents or other hazards taking place.

A good maintenance work order software can help your organization efficiently manage all your equipment

This is just a short list of the many benefits that can be gained by using a maintenance work order system. It’s important to remember that these are not just theoretical benefits—they’re real, tangible results that will help your organization run better and more efficiently every day.

source: https://fiixsoftware.com/blog/need-maintenance-work-order-system/

How to justify the cost of a CMMS

This is true in any industry but can be especially true in the maintenance industry. In many cases, maintenance teams still rely on outdated forms of tracking tasks that slow them down, like paper work orders. We get it, you’re already so busy, and switching your process and workflows is probably low on your list of things you want to do.

Many times, maintenance managers stick with paper forms for four reasons:

  1. They don’t want to train employees on new technology and processes
  2. They’ve had issues working with electronic or mobile forms before
  3. They need a solution that works in the office and in the field
  4. They don’t want to pay for all the features of software when the facility will only use a few of them

In this article, you’ll see how to calculate the cost and ROI of maintenance software. You’ll find out how to use that information to convince your boss and their boss that you need a CMMS for your maintenance department.

Getting started

No two facilities are the same, which means you must understand your company’s current processes and strategies to get a grasp on the benefits of a CMMS.

To do this, you should measure key performance indicators (KPIs) of your assets over time. This can include:

  • Revenue and budget loss from asset downtime
  • Inventory tracking and organization
  • An asset’s actual lifespan versus its expectancy

Pro tip: The more data you have, the better you’ll understand your benchmarks. In other words, you’ll know what’s normal and what improvement looks like. If the historical data isn’t available, measure your KPIs for at least six months to a year to get an accurate view of your assets’ performance.

Next, answer the following four questions to get an idea of how different CMMS features can improve performance and maintenance processes:

  1. What data/reports would make the job easier?
  2. What information does your supervisor consistently ask for?
  3. Where’s most of your maintenance budget going?
  4. What’s your desired planned maintenance (PM) to corrective maintenance (CM) ratio?

Calculating the ROI of CMMS software

One of the first things upper management will want to know is how a CMMS is going to help them and how much it’s going to cost. The easiest and best way to answer these questions and convince this group of stakeholders is by speaking their language. Show them exactly how a CMMS will benefit them by calculating the return on investment. The bigger the return, the easier it will be to secure the buy-in you need. The ROI of CMMS software is dependent on your goals, and the goals of your facility.

There are two ways to accurately calculate the ROI of a CMMS: Total cost of ownership and the value of the maintenance solution itself. Here’s what you need to know about calculating the ROI of a CMMS.

Total cost of ownership

The total cost of ownership involves adding all the initial costs of implementing the CMMS to the long-term costs of maintaining the solution. When deciding which CMMS to invest in, be sure to ask questions about the following costs:

  • Software costs: Cloud-based software often runs on a subscription model. These fees are often paid per user and follow a tiered structure with each tier offering different and/or more features. When determining subscription fees, think about how many people will be using the software and what level of service you need from the vendor.
  • Additional hardware and software required: Think about how your employees are going to be accessing the software. Tablets, smartphones, and laptops are all great choices, but they come at a cost.
  • Solution implementation services and support: Implementation can include things like moving data from your current system to your new one, setting up workflows and users, and other tools that are needed to make your CMMS operational. Some companies charge extra for this, so factor these costs into your calculation.
  • User and administrator training and long-term support and upgrades: Some vendors charge for training beyond the initial implementation phase. These costs can also include adding, training, and onboarding new users or adding new features.

CMMS value

The value of a CMMS is easy to see, and implementing one can reduce production costs by 10% and a 10% reduction in operating expenses. However, to get a full grasp on the value a CMMS can bring to your company, you should look at the following metrics:

  • Asset lifespan: Estimated number of years you expect to extend an asset’s life cycle
  • Overtime: Average of hourly labor (including overtime) wasted
  • Inventory: Average amount of time lost due to insufficient inventory
  • Utilities: Amount of budget spent on utilities versus the expected costs when utilities run at peak efficiency
  • Productivity: Amount of time spent on tasks like scheduling and work order management
  • Document management efficiency: How long it takes to create, file, copy, search for and retrieve critical documents

Once you have the costs and value determined, you can put the measurements into this formula: CMMS ROI = (Value – Costs) / Cost

The positive effect

The next time you’re thinking about pitching a CMMS to your boss, remember that it’s much easier to convince someone that something is a good solution when you have the numbers, data, and testimonials to back it up.

Source: https://fiixsoftware.com/blog/how-to-justify-the-cost-of-a-cmms/

How COVID-19 is Changing the Way Maintenance Teams Work

Like the rest of the world, most of the maintenance industry has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. We talked to several maintenance professionals to find out what challenges they’re facing, how they’re meeting them head-on, and how they’re showing incredible resilience while helping provide essential services.

If you’re looking for more resources to help you and your team through these uncertain times, we’ve created a Resource Hub that includes some helpful articles and webinars.

When operations manager Juan Ruiz looks out at the floor of his facility, everything seems normal. A technician talks to an operator before fixing a machine. A critical asset is inspected during a rare break in use. A production line is adjusted to make sure it can fulfill a crucial order.

But this isn’t business as usual for Juan’s team.

The conversation is happening in a designated quiet place so the two employees can stand six feet apart. The critical asset is a sensor used to take the temperature of staff as they enter the building. The crucial order is for millions of boxes that will hold lifesaving N95 masks.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Juan and his entire team to change the way they work.

“We are running to failure, and that’s changing our mentality right now,” says Juan.

“We’re surviving. We’re not improving.”

They are far from alone. Maintenance departments everywhere are feeling the impact of COVID-19.

“Maintenance teams are nervous right now,” says Terrence O’Hanlon, the CEO of ReliabilityWeb.

“Even before COVID, there weren’t too many maintenance departments who could say, ‘Yep, we’re fully staffed, fully budgeted, and we have all the resources we need.’…So if that’s the case when things are normal, it’s only going to get tougher in these times.”

Getting processes in place to support people is priority #1

For Tom Dufton, a maintenance and continuous improvement manager, these challenges aren’t just about business–they’re personal too.

“One of our maintenance team members, his wife is a nurse, so he’s taxed very heavily right now,” says Tom.

“He has two young kids. So we have to ask, ‘What can we do to help you out so things are better for you?…The last thing I want to do is to burden anyone down, especially maintenance.”

We’ve reached out to our competitors to get the crucial parts we need for our corrugator…And they’ve reached out to us for some of these consumables…We’re each making sure that we can get business done. We understand that we’re essential businesses and need to keep running.

The biggest hurdle for James Afara, the chief operating officer at a cannabis producer, is balancing the health of staff with the need to do critical maintenance.

“The biggest challenge is getting eyes on the plants to make sure they’re healthy and our process metrics…are being collected properly so we can make our decisions remotely,” says James.

“We have key individuals that go in during off-hours to collect the data, but you try to balance that because you never want to put people at risk.”

Juan’s facility has also struggled to do more with less. Most suppliers (90%) have stopped delivering key parts to the plant. But Juan has found an unlikely ally to help him solve this issue.

“We’ve reached out to our competitors to get the crucial parts we need for our corrugator,” says Juan.

“And they’ve reached out to us for some of these consumables…We’re each making sure that we can get business done. We understand that we’re essential businesses and need to keep running.”

Finding a way to get the job done isn’t the biggest worry for most maintenance teams. Instead, it’s ensuring staff health and safety. This has meant putting a lot of new processes in place.

For example, Tom and his team have increased their use of automation so his staff can run operations remotely.

“Our finger is always on the pulse of the facility,” says Tom, “Even without being there, you still know what’s happening.”

These measures have reduced after-hours call-ins by 42% over the last year, which means fewer risky trips to the plant.

Tom, along with James and Juan, have put several other precautions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They’ve started putting fewer technicians on each shift, taking the temperature of staff, sanitizing all incoming parts, and reducing production so staff can do frequent deep cleans of the facility.

Companies have even mobilized maintenance as a key weapon in the battle against the virus.

“It’s imperative that maintenance ensures the facility is running,” says James, “The last thing you want is staff sitting in the lunchroom and not social distancing because of a breakdown.”

This new way of working is essential, but it also has consequences.

“We are limited because if anyone has any sort of symptom, we are pulling them out of work,” explained James, who says his workforce has been reduced by 15% because of illness.

Juan’s team has had to sacrifice efficiency in the name of health and safety.

“Because the staff have to leave their machines and go to a separate area to discuss things, it creates more downtime,” says Juan.

Although their teams are stretched thin and dealing with more breakdowns, it’s all worth it to keep staff safe and healthy.

“Your employees and their health always comes first. You have to value people over profit,” says James.

“If you’re lowering your production, you still have to remember maintenance”

While increased production has led to challenges for some maintenance teams, others have faced a very different obstacle: Coming to terms with facility shutdowns.

Lines have gone silent at many plants in the face of both the pandemic and a struggling economy. That means an uncertain future for many maintenance teams. But there’s opportunity among the difficulties, says Rob Kalwarowsky, host of the Rob’s Reliability Project podcast.

“If you’re lowering your production, you still have to remember maintenance,” says Rob.

“This would be a great time to work through your backlog…or a great time to do those rebuilds you wanted to do. There’s opportunities here, you just have to look for them.”

Your employees and their health always comes first. You have to value people over profit.

While some maintenance personnel are learning to work remotely or with fewer resources, some are facing more dire circumstances.

There was nothing out of the ordinary about Brandon De Melo’s shift on March 13. Brandon, the CMMS coordinator at a major auto parts manufacturer, helped shut down the facility for the weekend and went home. By the next Friday, he had been laid off.

Although Brandon is temporarily without a job, it hasn’t stopped him from exploring new ways to improve maintenance at his facility for when business starts again.

His top priority is creating a list of crucial maintenance tasks for a successful cold start. He’s also working through several projects that have been on the backburner for his team, like organizing inventory records.

Brandon has also turned his home into a one-man manufacturing facility, where he’s been creating protective masks for healthcare workers with a 3D printer.

Left: Maintenance professional Brandon De Melo standing beside his 3D printer. Brandon has been using his printer to produce protective masks for healthcare workers at home.

Right: Pieces of the protective masks made by Brandon using his 3D printer.

Perseverance and hope are how maintenance teams are winning the day

Brandon’s story isn’t the only message of resilience among maintenance professionals. Hope was the word coming from everyone’s mouths when talking about the future, both on and off the shop floor.

“Don’t give up hope,” says Terrence.

“This is going to be a long battle…but I have huge faith not only in the people of this industry, but for all people to innovate and thrive even in this environment.”

Juan echoed this thought.

“The most important part about facing a situation like the one a lot of us are in now is to stay calm and to understand what is essential,” says Juan.

“What is essential is the safety of our employees. If we keep that in mind, everything else will be all right.”

Source: https://www.fiixsoftware.com/blog/impact-of-covid-on-maintenance/

How Maintenance Teams can Avoid the Top OSHA Violations

Everything maintenance teams need to know about OSHA, its regulations, compliance standards and how to avoid OSHA violations.

Here’s a scary stat: 85 health and safety violations were committed every day across the US in 2018. In total, there were more than 31,000 fines doled out for breaking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) top 10 health and safety violations alone.

Besides the potential for accidents, injury, and death, these fines inflicted a heavy toll on the bottom line, costing businesses over $400 million last year.

Many of the top OSHA violations have a connection to everyday maintenance tasks, especially for those working in manufacturing. Another thing they had in common? They were all preventable.

With solid planning and some helpful technology, it’s easy for maintenance teams to avoid health and safety violations while creating a better health and safety program.

What is OSHA?

OSHA is the government-run organization in charge of assuring safe and healthy working conditions for millions of public and private sector employers and workers across the US. They do this by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

What is the purpose of OSHA?

OSHA is responsible for the hefty price tags attached to noncompliance and is the organization that maintenance teams have to impress most often when it comes to health and safety audits.

OSHA regulations, OSHA compliance, and OSHA penalties

The following is a brief rundown of the rules and responsibilities mandated by OSHA and the impact of breaking these regulations.

What are employers responsible for?

Under OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their workers. Employers must provide workers with a hazard-free workplace and must follow all OSHA standards. Employers must find and correct all safety and health problems, first by changing working conditions, like switching to safer chemicals, and then by providing protective equipment.

Besides the potential for accidents, injury, and death, OSHA violations inflicted a heavy toll on the bottom line, costing businesses over $400 million last year.

Other guidelines that employers must follow include:

  • Prominently displaying official OSHA requirements, OSHA citations, and injury and illness data.
  • Informing workers about hazards in a language they can understand through training, labels, alarms, and other methods.
  • Keeping accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Performing tests in the workplace, such as air sampling.
  • Providing the required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
  • Not retaliating against workers for using their rights under the law.

These are some examples of the broad policies employers at production facilities need to follow. However, there are many OSHA regulations that apply to specific industries or in certain regions. Some examples of these standards include providing fall protection, ensuring safety in confined spaces, putting guards on dangerous machines, and providing respirators to employees.

What rights and responsibilities do workers have?

Workers also have a responsibility to attend training, ensure they report unsafe work, and follow guidelines set out by employers and OSHA. In addition to their responsibilities, workers also have several rights under OSHA laws, including:

  • The right to file a confidential complaint to have their workplace inspected.
  • The right to receive copies of the results from health and safety tests and monitoring.
  • The right to participate in an OSHA inspection and speak in private with the inspector.
  • The right to file a complaint with OSHA if they have been retaliated against by their employer.
  • The right to file a complaint if punished or retaliated against for acting as a whistleblower.

How are OSHA standards created?

OSHA standards-setting process is a multi-step activity that relies heavily on public engagement. New standards can be recommended either by OSHA itself or through third-party petitions from organizations like the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, state and local governments, and labour representatives.

After deciding to move forward with a new standard, OSHA often asks the public for their feedback and insight. After considering all information and testimonies, OSHA develops and issues a final standard that becomes enforceable.

What happens during an OSHA inspection?

When OSHA finds employers who are in violation of the regulations, inspections are initiated without advance notice by compliance officers. Here’s how the on-site inspections usually happen:

  • The compliance officer presents their credentials.
  • They explain why the workplace was selected for inspection and describe the inspection process, including walkaround procedures, employee representation, and employee interviews.
  • The compliance officer and facility representatives walk through the workplace, inspecting for hazards.
  • The compliance officer talks with the employer and employee representatives about their findings.
  • If no hazards or OSHA violations are found, the inspection is over. If an inspector finds violations or serious hazards, they may issue a citation and/or fine. A citation outlines methods that can be used to fix a problem and a deadline for correcting the issue, as well as the date by which the corrective actions must be completed.

What are the fines for OSHA violations?

Fines for non-compliance of OSHA regulations can vary based on the seriousness of the violation and the organization’s record and the industry. However, OSHA has outlined maximum fines, which for 2018 include $13,260 for minor and serious violations and $132,598 for willful or repeat violations.

The most common OSHA violations

Below are the 10 OSHA violations most frequently committed by workplaces in 2018:

OSHA ViolationNumber of violations in 2018
Fall Protection – General Requirements (Standard 1926.501)7,270
Hazard Communication (Standard 1910.200)4,552
Scaffolds – General Requirements (Standard 1926.451)3,336
Respiratory Protection (Standard 1910.200)3,118
Lockout/Tagout (Standard 1910.147)2,944
Ladders (Standard 1926.1053)2,812
Powered Industrial Trucks (Standard 1910.178)2,294
Fall Protection – Training Requirements (Standard 1926.503)1,982
Machine Guarding (Standard 1910.212)1,972
Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (Standard 1926.95)1,536

How maintenance teams can prevent OSHA violations

Here are a few tools and techniques maintenance teams can use to steer clear of violating some OSHA regulations. Each of these tips can be implemented through maintenance management software, such as a CMMS.

Hazard communication

It’s never easy to tear yourself away from a job when your to-do list is a mile long. Then again, when you don’t make time for health and safety tasks, it can result in a huge fine. Over 4,500 companies faced this exact situation in 2018 after they violating the OSHA’s hazard communication standard by failing to provide proper hazard training and maintain the necessary data sheets.

OSHA is also responsible for the hefty price tags attached to noncompliance, and is the organization maintenance teams have to impress most often when it comes to health and safety audits.

Maintaining records and providing health and safety training is often a hassle, even if it’s extremely important. Having an efficient method for storing employee information can go a long way in saving you time and helping you stay compliant. Create employee profiles for everyone on the maintenance team. On each profile, list the training that person has, the dates they completed training, and the training they still need. Make sure to note deadlines for certification renewals on each profile. Create a notification system so both you and the employee are alerted about any training that is about to expire. Lastly, use these profiles to communicate any hazardous situations or changes in policy to all staff.

Lockout/tagout

Lockout/tagout violations ranked as the fifth-most-common breach of OSHA regulations during 2018, even with it being standard procedure across the maintenance and manufacturing world. Facilities were cited for failing to implement an energy control program and to provide training.

Energy control programs help maintenance staff avoid being injured by the massive amounts of hazardous energy that is often stored by equipment. Although many facilities have an energy control program, they are often not implemented properly.

One of the biggest obstacles to policy implementation is a lack of accessibility. Technicians are extremely busy and are often overwhelmed on a daily basis. If they are working on an asset, need to conduct a lockout/tagout and don’t know the proper procedure, it’s not likely that they will spend valuable time looking for the information. Making an energy control program document available digitally and accessible through a mobile device eliminates this problem, is a factor in the successful implementation and helps facilities avoid a costly OSHA violation.

Fall protection – training and general requirements

Companies were handed over 9,000 fines for inadequate fall protection in 2018, with these violations scoring top spot and eighth place on the OSHA’s list. The most common rules that were broken were failing to provide sufficient training and proper protective equipment.

Training your whole workforce might be the end goal of your fall protection plan, but it might not be realistic in the short term. However, there are a few ways employers can better manage their existing pool of trained maintenance staff to avoid violating OSHA regulations. You must be able to cross-reference work orders with staff who are certified (and who have proof of certification). The best way to do this is through a digital maintenance work order system. This system can tell you who is available and the best person to do the job, so no one is working at heights without the proper training.

Equipment for fall protection often includes harnesses, guardrails, anchors, and other, larger pieces. These items need to be maintained and stored properly. That is why a well-built inventory management system is a must for safety and to avoid OSHA violations. The ability to track where parts are stored, their history of use, and how often they’ve been maintained is crucial. It ensures that workers know where to find the proper protective equipment when they need it and that they know it will be in optimal working condition. Having a digital inventory system makes this information more accessible and creates a more efficient process.

Machine guarding

Machine guarding was another common OSHA violation in 2018, averaging 5.5 infractions per day. Inspectors cited companies for point of operation and for guards that were not attached to machines.

It’s easy to assume this violation can be avoided by simply walking around your facility, installing guards where needed and training staff to always use them when necessary. However, this isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it issue. It requires an ongoing effort to ensure guards are installed and maintained properly. A guard may rust over time, diminishing its effectiveness. An employee may remove a guard for a project and not replace it properly or at all. That is why you and your maintenance team must be diligent about machine guarding.

One way to ensure consistency with machine guarding at your facility is through automated work orders and maintenance triggers. Determining a maintenance trigger for each guard will help you plan an inspection, repair, or replacement well ahead of time. For example, a certain guard may be slated for replacement every three months. These maintenance triggers can then be scheduled using an automated work order system to ensure you’ll be alerted of upcoming maintenance or inspection for machine guards so tasks don’t fall through the cracks and leave you vulnerable to citations or fines.

Personal protective and lifesaving equipment

The last entry on the OSHA’s list of top violations is one that can apply to many maintenance activities and can have a huge impact on safety. There were over 1,500 instances of facilities failing to provide personal protection equipment (PPE) and lifesaving equipment or failing to ensure employees used them in the right situation.

PPE can vary from job to job in a facility. One maintenance task may require an individual to wear hearing protection while another may call for a dust-blocking face mask. It can be difficult for staff to remember what PPE is associated with which job, which means tasks are not always completed in the safest way (or in accordance with OSHA regulations).

Solving this problem can be as easy as attaching a checklist to each maintenance task or asset that outlines the required PPE. Not only will this standardize PPE practices at your facility, but it also reminds the staff what they should be doing. If the checklist is available in a digital format, it is even more accessible to staff, which means that the protocols are more likely to be followed.

Source: https://www.fiixsoftware.com/blog/maintenance-avoid-top-osha-violations/