Managing a major manufacturing and processing facility’s maintenance department is a highly complicated job made even more complicated by the people involved. If it were just as simple as maintaining a generator or landscape, most anybody could do it. However, when you add the end users to the equation, the upkeep and maintenance of a large production facility become very involved. What are some ways to manage the complexities, so that what matters, the people, know they matter, and the investment that is the facility is maintained?
Understanding the personnel safety requirements
Staffing for these plants spans across a wide range of specialties, from unskilled labor to Doctorates in Chemical Engineering. One thing that doesn’t change is how you care for the people that use and operate the facilities.
Providing for their safety is the utmost responsibility of any facility program. Ensuring the functionality of fire prevention equipment, from portable fire extinguishers to massive sprinkler systems. Having a planned maintenance system for the assessment, maintenance, and repair of all fire fighting systems will ensure that, if they ever need to be used, the systems will be ready.
Safety is also about how people move about safely throughout the plant environment. Ladders and catwalks need to be checked for proper railings, clean surfaces, rust, wear, and tear. Areas, where there will be operation of heavy equipment, need to be well-marked. Pedestrian areas need to be obvious to avoid personnel/equipment collisions.
Safety also includes proper provisions for air handling. Clean air systems should be well maintained for safe breathing. Additionally, heating and cooling systems provide much-needed relief for technicians who have to oversee plant management operations on a daily basis.
Well-marked evacuation zones provide clear direction in the case of a major catastrophe. Well-lit emergency paths leading to safe, clear counting zones will ensure safe evacuation.
Operational personnel requirements
A well maintained operating plant is the greatest safety feature of all. Much like one is more likely to be hurt by a dull knife than a sharp one, the same is the case for well-maintained versus the wait until it breaks mentality.
Provide for regular maintenance and upkeep by using a very systematic planned maintenance system. A good system should have very specific operating systems covered by a maintenance plan broken into hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, biannual, and annual checks. A system for oversight of the planned system will ensure that when someone does the work, it gets done. The system will also guide you in ordering maintenance materials and wear and tear parts. Your support people will be governed by very specific instructions with the clear purpose.
If you can provide a safe, well-maintained facility for your workers, you will be less hampered by failures and lost time. Morale will benefit just because you show you care about them and the facility. Your people will know they are your greatest investment.