If you work in manufacturing or own a factory, cleaning different areas and other regular maintenance might seem like a waste of time. Think again, because making factory maintenance mistakes can be the difference between life and death.
On average, a worker gets injured every seven seconds. Most of these accidents are preventable and have to do with dangerous working conditions. Learning how to maintain a factory is essential, so here’s a list of six mistakes to steer clear of.
1. Factory Maintenance Mistakes From Rushing
Rushing is a common factory maintenance issue, in part because lots of factories save maintenance for the end of the day. When this happens, the want to go home often wins over the need to take time with maintenance. Rushing leads to all kinds of expensive mistakes and even casualties.
Set aside special time for maintenance instead of making it the thing you put at the very end of the day. This ensures you won’t have errors from rushing.
2. Doing Maintenance Without the Right Training
Most custodians and maintenance workers aren’t paid as much as white-collar workers. If that makes you think maintenance work is easier, think again. Trying to do factory maintenance without enough training is inefficient and causes damage.
Factory maintenance isn’t a matter of dusting and mopping the floor, though that’s part of the work. It’s a lot of technical work and you need to know the ins and outs of each type of industrial equipment you maintain.
Depending on the kind of maintenance you do, you may even need certification. So, research laws about industrial maintenance before tackling a job. Hire a facility maintenance team to do the work for you or take classes to learn how to do maintenance the right way.
3. Missing Maintenance Tools or Parts
Going into a maintenance job without the right tools and parts delays work. It can also result in shoddy work and be dangerous.
Industrial maintenance work puts you in lots of tricky positions like being under a vehicle. Lacking the right equipment in those cases is a huge risk. Even when you’re not in a dangerous position, consider that work like replacing pipes without the right welded tubing and other parts or tools could lead to expensive repairs or even disasters like gas leaks.
Make a checklist of everything you need and each step of the routine before you start maintenance. Have one list for your regular maintenance and make a separate checklist for each fix-it job. These lists make sure you have all the right materials and keep you on track.
4. Ignoring Cleaning as Maintenance
Many think of industrial maintenance as alignment, changing oil, greasing gears, tightening nuts and bolts, and other structural work. When cleaning becomes another kind of task, it often gets ignored in favor of that stereotypical maintenance.
Maintenance like dusting in a factory might seem silly, but dust and other particles getting into machinery causes breakdowns and ruins products. As you might expect, doing different kinds of cleaning avoids other issues.
5. Failing to Stay on Schedule
Sticking to factory maintenance schedules is harder than it sounds.
Getting away with skipping a week of maintenance one time doesn’t mean you won’t run into trouble the next time. That trouble could be as simple as a defective batch of product, but could also be major injury or death. Slacking on your maintenance schedule isn’t worth the risk.
Avoid these accidents by overseeing the maintenance team to make sure they do the work well and on time.
6. Doing Unsafe Factory Maintenance
One purpose of maintenance is to keep your factory efficient, but the other purpose—staying safe—is more important. That’s true even if you aren’t concerned about worker safety and want to keep producing no matter what. Consider that injured workers and other safety issues slow down and can even stop production.
There’s almost no point in doing factory maintenance for safety if you aren’t performing maintenance with safety in mind, too.
Remember that gears and blades, gas pipes, heavy machinery, and other parts of your factory are dangerous. Like unloading a gun before cleaning it, the first step is to make sure any power, water, gas, or other chemical lines are turned off. Use protective equipment, and be as cautious as you are when the machinery’s on.
A simple tip that always applies to factory maintenance is to use common sense. It might seem like a casual task, but it’s at least as dangerous as manufacturing. When you’re working inside machines you usually keep away from or up close with hazardous chemicals and electric equipment, maintenance work can be riskier.
7. Putting Money Before Maintenance and Safety
Skipping maintenance or using second-rate products and tools might seem like a good way to save money for manufacturers. Yet, if you didn’t get the picture from the last five tips, skimping on maintenance and safety measures leads to big costs.
You don’t want to pay for things like big repairs and legal fees, and you can avoid them. Putting enough money and time into maintenance and safety measures pays off in the long run.
If you aren’t convinced that you need to give maintenance the right space in your budget, consider these facts: Well-maintained equipment works better and improves products. It’s safer, reducing injuries and protecting you from lawsuits. Maintenance problems can also lead to the ultimate cost if inspectors shut your factory for safety violations.
Most factory owners make room in the budget for incidental fixes. Fewer make preventative work its own category. Looking at regular factory maintenance when planning your budget makes sure you have all you need to do quality work every time.
Budgeting for maintenance might be annoying upfront but means you won’t lose revenue to solve problems later on.
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With this information, you can avoid factory maintenance mistakes and keep your business running at peak performance.
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