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How are Reliability and Safety Connected? 

image of safety switch

So many things go into providing a safe and healthy environment for employees.  Essential concepts such as hazard prevention, training, PPE, and numerous others are often the center of the conversation.  Obviously, those are critical and require constant attention and emphasis from safety professionals.

Where and how does reliability come into play?

Very rarely does this topic come up when we discuss safety.  With so many other factors to consider, it doesn’t make sense to discuss it first.  However, various studies have indicated there is a relationship between reliability and safety in the manufacturing sector.  So, for this blog post I will be operating under the premise that becoming more reliable can make your plant safer as well.

For me, the core concept with this hypothesis is that with fewer equipment failures, there is less opportunity for exposure to safety hazards.  This is simple enough, but incredibly significant when we discuss both safety AND reliability at our facilities.  Keep this in mind when you’re making decisions, regardless of where you are at in your reliability timeline.  If your reliability program is not fully developed yet, keep pushing forward.  Improvements in the reliability of your assets may keep your workers safer.  If you’ve already developed and are maintaining a successful PdM program, any steps backwards could place your workers in harm’s way.  If budget cuts are looming and have the potential to derail your reliability program, keep safety in mind when you’re presenting your case to upper management.  If protecting the plants assets isn’t enough to convince them to dedicate resources to reliability, maybe safety will.

Regardless of your area of expertise, safety or reliability, keep this idea in mind as you go about your daily tasks.  Coordination between the two departments should already be emphasized, but much more can be gained if there is a common goal.  Keep your assets running and keep your people safe with reliability.

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