Do You Have an Equipment Backup Plan?

As an employer, you know that any serious workplace incident involving bodily injury is going to mean an OSHA investigation. However, that doesn’t mean work will necessarily stop. A time-sensitive project or regular work tasks may still need to be kept on schedule even as an investigation continues. This is especially true for public agencies that are responsible for keeping infrastructure running.

What you might not have considered is how work will actually get done if a significant piece of equipment is implicated in an accident. As an example, a few months ago, several workers received serious burns when an aluminum casting press malfunctioned at Tesla Motors in Fremont. According to the news reports, the machinery in question was put out of commission for an unspecified period of time. Although it was expected to be cleared for use eventually, some operations must certainly have been interrupted while it was offline.

What Would Your Organization Do?

That brings up a very interesting point for employers who have large, expensive, and potentially dangerous equipment. Having a contingency plan in place is something public agencies should definitely take into consideration. Here are some questions that may be helpful in safety planning.

  • Which pieces of equipment are mission critical?
  • Is this machinery complex to operate, high-powered, or otherwise especially prone to posing a workplace hazard?
  • If the equipment had to be decommissioned temporarily or permanently due to an accident, is there a backup available on-site or locally?
  • If an accident does occur, how could it be determined quickly if the problem was due to poor design, improper use, or lack of maintenance?
  • If a design flaw was found that made the equipment inherently dangerous, what would be used to replace it?
  • Is there an equivalent piece of equipment from another manufacturer that could be rented or purchased for speedy installation?

The best thing about doing this type of assessment now is that it may point to potential hazards involving heavy machinery that have been previously overlooked. There might even be additional safety features or protocols that can be implemented to further reduce the risk of bodily harm for workers. To take a fresh look at your specialized equipment, contact our safety consulting professionals today.