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Integrating HSE Asset Management for Safer, More Sustainable Work Environments

Contributed by Genesis Solutions, an ABS Group Company 

Ask a chief financial officer in any asset-intensive industry how enterprise asset management (EAM) solutions impact commercial operations and she will likely start with the enhanced life cycle, increased availability and the resulting return on investment that a machine with optimized uptime potential brings to the table.

She may continue on to other matters arguably far more important: employee safety, regulatory compliance and environmental sustainability. Comprehensive EAM doesn't treat these concerns as secondary to some central financial mission, but rather as vital stepping stones toward achieving real asset management. Without them, EAM cannot be said to exist let alone thrive.

While financial solvency retained through asset reliability impacts the business at large, matters of health, safety and environment (HSE) affect employees' lives, the surrounding community and natural environment. After all, EAM covers everything from facilities management to remote assets, on-site interface technologies to mobile deployments, resource consumption to service infrastructure.

Cost efficacy may be what entices businesses to incorporate EAM, utilization and maintenance solutions into their operations, but HSE considerations will be what makes them lifelong advocates. Who exactly? Everyone from the boardroom to the production floor. Diving in deeper, how exactly can EAM solutions such as IBM Maximo and compatible HSE asset management modules create safer, more sustainable work environments?

Enhance incident reporting and disaster response with real-time data

Production or service losses from equipment failure in asset-intensive industries, while unwanted, pale in comparison to injuries or pollution sustained in the process. Mishaps typically involve the creation of an incident report, as well as long-term recordkeeping. For instance, current Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines state certain work-related injuries and illnesses must be reported within hours of such occurrences.

Businesses can automate internal notification processes and failure documentation.

While the average person might think this is a reasonable request – and it absolutely is, no question – asset failures resulting in illness or injuries can quickly become chaotic. The organization must alert emergency services, notify upper management and file a comprehensive report, all while safely addressing the failure that brought on the injury in order to prevent further issues. Attempting to balance all these spinning plates at once could leave businesses with at least some smashed china. However, since EAM programs essentially act as communication and collaboration tools, their use carries over from asset management into incident management seamlessly. Businesses can automate internal notification processes and failure documentation to provide regulators with everything necessary to protect workers, as well as the company.

Additionally, OSHA has already gone on record saying, "preventive maintenance plays a major role in ensuring that hazard controls continue to function effectively [and] keeps new hazards from arising due to equipment malfunction." Proactive and preventive maintenance, part of any good EAM initiative, closely monitors not only the performance of key production assets, but also the connected telemetry doing the monitoring.

Hypothetically, an asset criticality ranking – yet another EAM mainstay – may prioritize operational monitoring equipment before large-scale industrial machinery, depending on the business. With all these checks and balances in place, asset-intensive organizations have the ability to handle incidents with great care, and potentially avoid them altogether.

Do more than merely track energy consumption

It's no secret that asset-intensive industries use a lot of energy, be it electricity or natural gas. Between January and February of 2016, the industrial sector consumed more energy than any other sector, beating its closest contender (residential) by 673 trillion Btus according to data from the US Energy Information Administration. Reminder: That's just one month's worth.

Just as homeowners install energy-efficient devices around their homes and incorporate renewable energy resources into their consumption, so should the industrial sector in its own way. To start, these businesses must more closely monitor their rate of consumption and the effect of energy-efficient retrofits, something EAM/HSE integrated solutions do masterfully.

However, keep in mind energy isn't the only resource that asset-intensive industries consume. Water conservation matters too. And for industries like the energy sector itself, sustainability through EAM/HSE directly correlates to cost-effective service. HSE allows EAM to scale up specific areas of operational tracking and develop more robust data and asset management programs according to the individual needs of the organization in question.

Finally, what of those businesses that take it upon themselves to onboard renewable energy resources like solar panels or wind turbines to feed their demanding consumption? Are these not assets worth managing as well? They certainly are and, with HSE solutions working together with legacy EAM, grant insight small businesses couldn't prosper without, while providing larger corporations the freedom to replicate best practices in maintaining these assets across all its disparate locations.

Learn from the past through effective change management

Incidents which compromise workplace safety or the environment caused by asset failure require resolution, and sometimes small repairs are not enough. Prevention of similar future issues may demand thorough organizational change to correct technical processes or production operations which themselves may jeopardize employee safety and environmental protection.

Integrating EAM with HSE solutions under one asset reliability service breaks down interdepartmental silos prohibiting consummate organizational change management. To conduct change mapping, cross-functional collaboration and operational data utilization, organizations need a modular solution that works like a single platform.

That said, it's worth noting that steps toward a safer, more sustainable future start with the location of the true root cause, the specific catalyst that created the problem in the first place. While an EAM solution such as a computerized maintenance management system, or CMMS, is an intuitive repository for enterprise operational data, data acquisition through HSE platforms compiled at the point of incident reporting can complement, inform and/or provide context to information gleaned from asset failure histories and subsequent investigations.

When it comes to saving employees' lives and protecting the environment, there is no such thing as too much data – so long as these data are managed effectively. EAM and HSE working in tandem accomplish this objective.

 

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