OSHA Targets Key Emergency Maintenance Tactics

  December 16, 2020

By Dan Hounsell

Emergency preparedness is essential for institutional and commercial facilities in order to respond to a crisis efficiently and return to operation as soon as possible. While much of the focus in emergency preparedness involves big-picture planning, maintenance and engineering managers also are responsible for small-picture preparedness involving key maintenance activities.

Every facility must have a plan and available resources to deal with emergency maintenance. Those plans have to incorporate certain safety guidelines. Since it’s an emergency, pre-planning is essential. The lack of an emergency plan could lead to severe financial losses as well as human casualties.

A well-thought-out and well-organized emergency response plan will help to eliminate these issues. It will prevent fatalities, reduce equipment maintenance costs, improve asset reliability and help mitigate potential environmental hazards. OSHA recently issued best practices for emergency maintenance designed to address facility needs, according to Occupational Safety & Health.

One example is providing and following written safety guidelines. Emergency maintenance happens when there is an issue with a critical piece of equipment or when a malfunction leads to a potential safety hazard. Each situation causes nervousness on the plant floor because everybody knows that this hurts the company's bottom line.

Since there is a great deal of pressure to deal with these situations as fast as possible, it is paramount to have written safety guidelines that are properly communicated to all affected employees. Machine operators, maintenance techs and safety managers all have different tasks and responsibilities they are supposed to follow.

Dan Hounsell is editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.


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