CMMS software: centralising compliance in industrial transport
By Bryan Christiansen, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Limble CMMS
Thursday, 13 January, 2022
Given the size and weight of the machinery and equipment involved in industrial transport, work health and safety (WHS) risks and hazards are inevitable. Computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS) software, which allows companies to oversee all the equipment in the company and store important safety information in a centralised digital hub, can help.
According to Safe Work Australia, 194 workers were fatally injured at work in 2020 — 25% of these fatalities were in the transport, postal and warehousing industry. If we look at the 5-year period from 2016–2020, the average fatality rate in the road transport industry was 12.4 fatalities per 100,000. 76% of the fatalities in the road transport industry over the five years to 2020 were due to vehicle collisions. Trucks, vans and lifting equipment are an integral part of industrial transport but pose serious health hazards to employees and third parties.
Safety maintenance is the effective and systematic management of risks with the aim of eliminating danger and related hazards to improve WHS. Companies operating in this industry have the mandate to implement safety maintenance programs and practices that keep the work environment and equipment safe and reliable. The versatility of powered industrial lifting trucks, for example, allows them to work in tough and extreme environments. However, to improve their availability and reliability, safety maintenance is paramount.
A ‘preventive maintenance’ policy, designed by senior management in collaboration with departmental heads, improves safety within an organisation by setting objective and quantifiable safety maintenance expectations. The plan should address the obligations of each party towards safety maintenance, regulations, risk management and quality assurance. When properly drafted and communicated, the safety maintenance plan goes beyond creating a safe workplace — to minimising production losses and optimising the maintenance of equipment and personnel.
CMMS solutions, which store vital safety maintenance information in a centralised digital hub, have many advantages when it comes to staying compliant.
Benefits of adopting CMMS software solutions
Fewer cases of occupational injuries and claims
Work-related injuries impose high costs on companies in terms of workers compensation to injured employees, families and society. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, $1.8 billion was spent for work-related injuries and diseases through workers compensation agencies in 2017–18. Occupational claim costs accrue to the individual employees, their families, the businesses and society at large due to hidden costs associated with healthcare treatment.
Businesses incur additional insurance costs, as well as the cost of hiring temporary employees to cover gaps left by injured employees. With a well-implemented CMMS program, your business can have a strong case in proving that it is effectively controlling risks within the premises.
Lower risks of equipment breakdown
CMMS software increases the reliability of industrial transport trucks by reducing the risks of breakdowns and potential accidents. It is estimated that only 10% of industrial equipment wears out from proper use, meaning that 90% of mechanical breakdowns are preventable with a proper safety maintenance plan.
Mean time between failures, a major KPI in maintenance, allows fleet managers to make informed maintenance decisions by identifying the areas most likely to increase WHS risks and equipment breakdowns. In the long term, this will decrease the amount of money spent on purchasing and shipping parts on a rush basis due to unexpected breakdowns and emergency maintenance requests.
Increased business efficiency and productivity
Ensuring the reliability of industrial transport equipment translates to increased productivity and business efficiency. CMMS software integrates quality improvements into the system by ensuring employees are trained to perform tasks quickly and effectively. A skillset aligned towards a proper handling of the equipment and loads enables employees to take ownership and pride in their tasks, again translating to increased productivity.
With modern safety maintenance solutions allowing operational managers to digitise essential equipment details, review asset history and assign recurring work orders, organisations are able to deliver quality services to their customers in a timely manner. By eliminating unplanned downtime, there is improved business productivity, which boosts the company’s corporate image among its customers, investors and bankers.
Compliance with health and safety standards
The model WHS Act requires that all Australian businesses immediately notify their regulator of a notifiable incident, including injuries, accidents and deaths occurring in the workplace. Without documented safety maintenance practices, it is likely that the business will accrue hefty fines from the regulator in the event of incidents occurring from human error and negligence.
Furthermore, all powered industrial trucks in Australia must also comply with the OSHA Powered Industrial Trucks standard of 2016. The standard provides recommendations for the type of safety maintenance practices that should be followed for each class of equipment. CMMS software can assist in complying with health and safety standards and adopting compliance certifications including AS/NZS 4801 and/or OHSAS 18001, which also improve business confidence.
Digital track of performed maintenance works
Previously performed maintenance works provide insight into the nature of the equipment. CMMS allow companies to oversee all the equipment in the company and store important safety information in a centralised digital hub.
CMMS software makes it easy to perform safety audits, as all the completed maintenance histories and safety protocols are available with a single click. Furthermore, the histories are automatically updated each time maintenance tasks and work orders related to a particular piece of equipment are performed.
Potential hazards addressed at sites
The dynamics of industrial business and work activities include the introduction of new equipment, long hours spent operating the equipment, and psychological and physical demands that increase occupational risks and hazards.
Conducting a risk assessment through safety audits, incident reporting, workplace inspections and collection of feedback from employees, allows you to identify the impact of the hazards on the people exposed. Having marking systems that show potential danger zones — such as no-smoking and welding signs, as well as marking hazardous chemicals — will promote occupational health and safety.
The industrial transport industry in Australia is complex. Therefore, a strong commitment and shared approach to meeting the industry’s compliance is a high priority to keep workplaces safe. Within its areas of operation in supply chains, each party has a responsibility to implement positive actions to prevent safety breaches and injury in a bid to promote the health and wellbeing of employees and third parties. A computerised safety maintenance program focusing on creating a safe workplace, and supported by global standards, is a solid step towards improving business efficiency while keeping workers safe.
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