Preventative Maintenance Plans and Safety Precautions: A COVID-19 Priority
If your printing business is like many others, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has required you to take extra precautions for the health and safety of your employees and visitors. As a safety consultant for Sentry Insurance, I’ve assisted several printers with their risk-management during these difficult times.
While many conversations continue to, and should, concentrate on hygiene measures, it’s important for you to also maintain facility and equipment. According to a 2016 study by Mutual Boiler Re, equipment breakdown remains a leading cause of property claims, with 55% of breakdowns resulting from a lack of maintenance and 40% developing from operator error. Add in that the average press breakdown costs more than $60,000, and it’s easy to see why preventing these incidents is crucial during an already uncertain time.
Fortunately, you can minimize the breakdown of printing presses and other equipment through a preventative maintenance (PM) program. Here’s what that looks like during COVID-19.
Facility & Equipment Inspections
You’ve seen the numbers, you know the benefits, and you’re ready to swap out reactive repairs for a more proactive PM strategy. But where do you start? Consider incorporating the following elements into your program:
- Organize an equipment inspection cycle that follows the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) recommended maintenance practices.
- Secure service contracts with properly insured contractors.
- Establish a business continuity plan and make note of developed contingencies to minimize the impact of an equipment breakdown.
- Protect your primary equipment against damage from a power surge.
Due to the reduced operations your shop may have faced from COVID-19, now is also the time to reinspect equipment that has sat idle. Consider lubricating the chains and bearings of your press based on OEM standards and remove any debris beneath machinery.
Once you’ve finalized or refreshed your PM plan, hold smaller training sessions to allow social distancing and supplement them with best practice reminders to employees throughout the year.
Preventative Maintenance Visits
Once your PM plan is established, it’s common to welcome third-party contractors to your facility to perform maintenance. While the current COVID-19 environment may heighten onsite visitor concerns, the length of the pandemic is indefinite, and your PM program should continue to observe CDC guidance and follow precautions including, but not limited to:
- Requiring visitors to enter your facility through a designated check-in point. Station an employee behind a divider or window to screen visitors.
- Outlining the PM tasks that will take place to incorporate social distancing strategies ahead of time.
- Providing and requiring masks to be worn by all visitors when entering and navigating the facility.
- Sending a pre-screening health questionnaire to visitors prior to the scheduled meeting.
To the last point, ask visitors to refrain from visiting if they’ve indicated traveling to high-risk communities, being in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms in your questionnaire.
Your printing business has a lot to focus on the rest of the year, and the PM strategies I’ve discussed are just one of the many safety initiatives to consider. To stay updated on the latest recommendations, always check the CDC and OSHA websites, and consult your local experts or attorney before taking action.
Most importantly, continue to prioritize a proactive culture of safety. In doing so, you’ll help protect your employees, customers, and business partners, while setting your company up for success well into the future.