A Proactive Approach To Safety

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A Proactive Approach To Safety
<em>IMPO</em> Editorial Director Jeff Reinke

In this new segment, our editors square off on timely issues relating to industrial maintenance and plant operation. The editorial staff would like to stress that we are not intending to specifically endorse any one viewpoint, however our intent is only to encourage dialogue by showing a point-counter-point on contentious issues.

Someone much smarter than I once described life as a hard teacher – it gives the test first and then provides the lesson. Unfortunately, in many instances there’s a parallel that can be drawn between this saying and plant safety programs.

Although they’re drafted with the best of intentions, a thin layer of dust usually has to be blown off the cover of these plans when re-visiting ways of making them better. And in all honesty, it’s tough to blame anyone for this being the case.

Combine rising energy costs, a shrinking labor pool and all those “pesky” operational efficiency issues associated with keeping the doors open, and it’s no wonder why safety, while high on everyone’s recognized list of priorities, often takes a back seat when it comes to dedicating time and resources towards new initiatives. Of course, this is only until something bad happens.

While the personal ramifications are tragic and the operational downtime is competitive jeopardy, what really hurts is the preventative nature of the situation. This is where having a specialist on-board and in the facility can be such a benefit to your operation and its most important asset – the people.

While many plant engineers are able to wear multiple hats and fill these roles admirably, there’s simply no comparison to the impact a dedicated specialist can have on improving plant safety, just as is the case in other areas of production. And operational processes as a whole can also be improved by having a subject matter expert that can address OSHA and other regulatory guidelines that might stalemate manufacturing.

The bottom line is that outsourcing this element of plant operations provides maintenance and operations personnel with the ability to keep their focus where it’s best served, and ensures that safety measures can be implemented proactively. In the end, both the company and its employees benefit from a smoother functioning, more worker-friendly facility.

Click here to read IMPO Editor Anna Wells’ take on outsourcing safety.

Comments? Email IMPO Editor, Anna Wells: [email protected].