Depending on the type of equipment being utilized at your facility, you may choose to employ a variety of predictive maintenance (PdM) technologies to suit your needs best. For many, vibration analysis is considered a core technology that is integral to the day to day reliability of their facility. With that in mind, it is important to always consider any potential safety issues that may arise with your staff or provider when they’re collecting data or performing work for you. If these issues are addressed properly before PdM work is performed, it can have a positive impact on your safety numbers and allow for more vibration data to be collected at the same time.
Rotating equipment is inherently dangerous. We have all seen how unforgiving this type of equipment can be and many steps are taken to reduce the danger to our employees and contractors. OSHA has dictated standards for machine guarding, confined spaces, ladders, lockout/tagout, and more. It is also imperative to train our staff to understand the safety measures in place and why they are there. The desire to collect more data points should never translate to overriding or ignoring the appropriate safety regulations. While these protocols do make our facilities safer, they often make it more difficult for vibration data to be collected. With that in mind, there are things that can be done to collect critical data and keep employees/contractors safe.
When setting up your vibration route, you should identify and address any potential safety issues that may arise during collection. There will undoubtedly be some equipment that cannot be collected safely by hand. If this equipment is critical and justifies the investment, you should consider purchasing and installing permanently mounted accelerometers. These allow for vibration data to be collected safely from a junction box, instead of directly at the unit. Extreme temperature accelerometers and cable can also be purchased, if temperature is the immediate safety concern. Other options include mechanical vibration switches (earthquake switches) and online vibration monitoring. These options may not be practical for all equipment, but are often worth the investment for single point failure or highly critical units.
It is important to keep in mind that not every piece of equipment will allow for optimal vibration data to be collected in a safe manner. However, there are many instances where critical assets can be monitored safely and effectively if the correct steps are taken. Take the time to evaluate your vibration route for safety concerns and invest in the proper vibration collection equipment. This will allow for critical assets to be monitored properly without exposing your staff or contractors to any unnecessary danger.