Failure to Properly Maintain Critical Equipment Costs the U.S. $650 Billion Annually

Failure to Properly Maintain Critical Equipment Costs the U.S. $650 Billion Annually

How custom adjustable work stands & platforms are saving time and money and enhancing the abilities of experienced techs, mechanics, and engineers.

The most successful operations will consider the cost of mission critical equipment failure and implement maintenance and service measures to prevent loss. Yet, every year, more than $650 billion is lost to unplanned downtime. Not all operations are the same, not all losses are due to predictable equipment failure and not all production downtime are recoverable. However, assuming an injury or death was not the cause of the unexpected downtime, operations can typically sustain and recover 2-8 hours of production loss, but few businesses can recoup anything over 24 hours.

How Work Platforms Help

Operations with rolling stock and large machinery that require scheduled preventive maintenance, periodic spot checks, in-line service, and repair, can pose challenges to even the most skilled technician and experienced mechanic. Even simple routines that require a worker to get him or herself and their tools and sometimes diagnostic equipment up and into tight spots can take careful planning and coordination. Furthermore, any activity conducted at a height of just four feet over a shop floor, a lower level or lower object can be nerve-racking and dangerous. When these exercises are conducted frequently or as a necessary aspect of a worker’s duty, this is behavior that can warrant an OSHA violation when a worker is not properly protected.  

Benefits to Work

Adjustable or custom work platforms are a quick and economical way to establish safe maintenance workspaces. Currently in use by skilled assembly and service work crews throughout small and large operations, these purpose-built work structures minimize slips and falls, improve visibility, reduce fatigue, save time, reduce confusion. However, adjustable work platforms that feature modular ergonomic designs such as those from FlexDecks, easily adapt to fit the use and when properly outfitted make the work at height safer and in some cases more enjoyable. 

Benefits to Operations

The right platform can enhance the abilities of even the most experienced tech, mechanic, or engineer because they can focus on their work rather than avoiding risks and fall hazards. When service and maintenance work can be conducted from a stable working/walking surface the work is more likely to be performed with greater ease, more regularity and be more thorough.  

Service and Maintenance operations with work platforms in regular use see these benefits:  

• Improved Labor Efficiency
• Lower Start to Finish Maintenance Time
• Reduced Downtime
• Improved Planning and Productivity
• Improved Performance Management 

Choosing the Right Platform

Platforms range from lightweight aluminum structures that are easily moved into position when needed or steel platforms that become a more permanent part of operations. Work stands and access ladders can be outfitted with a range of accessories such as work task lighting kits, compressed air, water and electrical service, tool compartments and trays and integrated safety features such as self-closing gates, non-slip tread, safety rail to make work more efficient as well as safer. 

To help you evaluate work platform options use the following checklist and become familiar with the OSHA codes that apply to your work at height: 

Is it possible to bring the work at height to ground level? 
Eliminating or avoiding work at height is always the ideal fall protection solution but it isn’t always practical or possible.  

At what height is the work performed?
The work itself must be reviewed closely to understand the allowances workers require to conduct their work. 

What are the material & coating requirements?
Platforms can be constructed of aluminum, steel, stainless steel, or even fiberglass to fit the facility and usages. They have different rigidity, weight, and conductive properties and can feature anti-corrosive coatings, may or may not be able to painted or powder coated. Make sure the walking-working surface is designed to meet the maximum intended loads. 

Does the platform have special safety or ergonomic features?
Platforms can feature self-closing gates, non-slip treads, removable safety railing, lockable casters, and expandable work decks that form-fit the equipment profile. They should provide a safe means of access and egress to and from walking-working surfaces and be compliant with OSHA Section 1910 Subpart D.

When properly designed and utilized custom, safe, adjustable work platforms help facilitate the necessary checks that ensure business critical equipment stays up and running. When used implemented into operations that specialize in assemble, service and maintenance they accommodate workspace expansion and changes in production. In the best cases, work stands and platforms are more than a safe, stable, walking-working surface, they have been credited with lowering injury and fatigue, adding operational efficiency, and enabling new business growth. 

For more information or to discuss your platform needs, connect with the platform engineering team at FlexDecks or to set up an onsite evaluation where an industry expert will walk your site and review your processes to ensure that your crew gets the best possible solution on the market.