A reliable plant is a safer plant

26. April 2012 14:53

ARC Advisory Group’s Harry Forbes wrapped up the Business Forum track today with a presentation on safety. He spoke about the relationship between safety and reliability, specifically in how maintenance practices impact safety in industrial plants.

"Reactive maintenance is two to five times as expensive as a more pro-active approach," said Forbes, but he went on to note that maintenance activities—especially unscheduled repairs—create the situations in which injuries and even fatal accidents are more likely to occur.

Forbes also talked about the "tennis match" that can ensue between operations and maintenance functions when the objective is just to keep the plant up and running. Neither side is willing to take responsibility for stepping back and improving the overall process.

Interestingly, this is largely a cultural issue. Forbes noted that in situations where a plant's maintenance function is turned over to a third party under a performance contract, the same maintenance staff is able to produce far better results. The formalization of the working relationship between the two groups forces negotiation of the issues.


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