PRIDE and a clearly written equipment maintenance program will keep employees safe.
by Tina Grady-Barbaccia, News/Digital Editor
When it comes to safety with equipment maintenance, it’s all about PRIDE: Personal Responsibility in Delivering Excellence.
PRIDE says Jeff Lambert, safety chairman of Knife River Corp.’s North Central Region, is what drives his company’s safety program and what should drive the safety programs at every aggregates operation. In addition, the safety program must contain policies and procedures that address the hazards of the operation, such as equipment maintenance safety, Lambert says.
Lock out–tag out is a critical component in equipment maintenance safety. “Failure to follow lock out–tag out procedures can result in the serious injury or even death of a miner, it’s that critical,” Lambert says. (For “Lock Out–Tag Out” best practices, see page 34.) But the program must be more than just written rules. It must be understood, be consistent, and be administered by a competent person. Who qualifies as a competent person?
“It’s someone who is familiar with procedures, knows and understands the hazards associated with it, and has the authority to take action,” Lambert says. “If you can have the same people on a regular basis, this helps. It is critical that anyone new to the crew or unfamiliar with the procedures be properly trained before performing work.” However, even regular, competent employees that routinely inspect and perform maintenance can become complacent. A problem or issue may never have occurred, but there is always that chance, Lambert points out.
After analyzing fatality data for the 2000-2008 timeframe, MSHA identified 12 priority standards as leading causes of fatalities within the metal/non-metal sector. Standard §56.14105 (Procedures during repairs or maintenance) is one of those 12 priority standards.
To ensure that nothing is overlooked when it comes to safety with equipment maintenance, job hazard analysis (JHA) procedures need to be established. “Written procedures for all maintenance performed are the key to accomplishing it safely,” Lambert notes. “Everyone knows how to cut a belt, or do they? Do they know how to properly replace screens or shut down a 440-amp panel?”
A JHA for equipment maintenance addresses potential hazards and eliminates shortcuts. The shortcuts may seem benign, but could cause serious injury, Lambert says. “Mechanics say that they can lift a cutting blade by themselves,” he says. “To that I say, ‘Really?’ The blades weigh 200 to 250 pounds, so we have a JHA for it. It’s pretty simple, but they are recorded as procedures.”
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