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I am doing a research on the influnce of human intervention in faults. It is a quite a significant correlation between fault and human interaction during planned and unplanned maintenance. From the time I was a maintenance manager I remember it was common to implement the maintenance program the vendor suggested without much of questions. Then we did RCM and other analysis to improve and optimize the maintenance. But we (maintenance managers) had to agrue very hard to remove maintenance actions that we found unreasonable. The technicians who worked with the systems everyday had to argue even harder.  So in light of the facts that human intervention seems to cause that many faults, should we not start arguing why you should do maintenance, instead of why you should let it be? 

 

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Great topic @Fredrik Foss - I just recently bought the book "Managing Maintenance Error: A Practical Guide" by James Reason and Alan Hobbs to read up on the topic of human error and how it impacts maintenance. Winston Ledet already showed in his worked that up to 80% of failures are induced by human error. That said I don't we can stop doing maintenance, but we certainly should carefully review every maintenance task and see if it is worth the effort and whether it outweighs the risk of human error. And I don't think I have ever seen an OEM maintenance schedule that I would adopt without change.

The other thing is that human error also covers a multitude of sins that are not committed by frontline staff but by office-based staff when defining maintenance requirements or writing maintenance instructions. 

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  • 1 year later...

I would definitely agree with Erik that this is a topic worthy of more discussion. In the early 90s, as a maintenance manager, I had noticed the trend of so called repairs being associated to equipment setup or human errors. In this particular facility, it was the responsibility for the operators to setup equipment.

The maintenance staff had been frustrated by this situations and thus, we set in place the following plan.

1. Using the functionality of the PM work order generation application, we had created blanket work orders with a change to the WO type code so as to read SETUP instead of PM.

2. The blanket work orders were created and set to generate utilizing  a PM fixed rule of monthly (1st day of the month) only for those pieces of equipment that required a production run setup or required adjustments.

3. The work orders were not printed upon generation but instead a custom report had been created, filtered by work order type SETUP and via a date range, which listed all the equipment or Asset #, name and blanket work order number. The information was sorted by department and one page of the report held approximately 25 - 30 lines of equipment / SETUP blanket work order numbers.

4. Each maintenance person had been given this report  at the beginning of each month. The SETUP blanket work orders from the previous month were closed and coded as completed.

5. If a maintenance person was faced with a process or equipment setup issue, they would log their labor hours against the blanket work order in the CMMS software, along with indicating the operators name and a bullet point mention of what had to be adjusted in the comment section.

NOTE: I have and continue to advocate that reporting with a dollar value as a much more impact towards getting someone's attention. With this said, the total cost for the year for the SETUP issues equated to $28,000 CAD.

Now, back in the early 90s this equates to a lot of money spend on non value added maintenance activities. In addition, imagine the impact on lost throughput, lack of time to complete PM inspections, repairs, projects etc. I would hazard to guess that the value of $28K could easily have been increased by a factor of 10+.

Now imagine if we would have captured the other categorized human error based issues.

Following this, I had conducted a social experiment at this time as well as related to a SEE, HEAR, and TOUCH approach training program for production operators geared towards congruent and consistent equipment setups. 

As a result, a significant reduction in setup times, increased throughput and yields, and a noticeable change in work force attitude in the particular process line that the training had taken place.

Lastly, there were 3 shifts working on this particular center and one shift appeared to be lagging behind the other two. In short, it was noticed that the operator of this shift lacked mechanical aptitude skills. Thus a decision was made to move this person to another position in the plant ( Another seat on the bus).

Also, capturing maintenance labor time, operator names and general setup issues resolved can be data used to help with performance reviews, training efficiencies, and a host of other valuable information.

The long winded point to my aforementioned story is that human error happens more frequently than we know, but we also have the ability to do something about this.

Sometimes we have to fix the person first!

Cheers,

Jim

 

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