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The Bigfoot CMMS Blog

Adhering to Safety Regulations across Industry

April 20, 2017 | Chemical, Energy & Utilities, Food & Beverage, Manufacturing, Mining, Occupational Safety & Health | no comments

A need to keep employees safe and adhere to relevant safety regulations is universal for maintenance departments, but the exact circumstances will necessarily differ for companies according to their sector. Mining, for example, is so unique that it follows its own U.S. government administrative branch, called MSHA. Just as compliance varies for organizations, so to does the means to comply. Spreadsheets or paper may still be the common management method. For other companies, custom databases may be the preferred system. For manufacturers, mining companies, data centers, distributors, and others, the best option may be to look towards the maintenance system of record: modern CMMS with safety/EHS capabilities.

Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is one more element that can be tracked in a CMMS safety maintenance system.”

Industry challenges

The following are a few of the industry-specific challenges that can present themselves to safety officers and occupational health and safety specialists. Every field possesses its own unique characteristics, and not all are equal. Some have particularly dense webs of regulations and risks.

In general, regulatory bodies tend to look for the same things: companies that follow rules appropriately, and save detailed records to prove these activities are taking place. As advanced systems for asset and facility data as well as hubs for communication across an enterprise, CMMS with an OSH function is ideal for managing compliance.

  • Chemical plants: In addition to the same kinds of OSHA compliance challenges that face all manufacturing organizations, it’s essential for chemical plant operators to follow the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), and it’s one more element that can be tracked in a CMMS safety maintenance system.
  • Food and beverage manufacturers: Producing food and beverages is another area where safety standards are tight and compliance is mandatory. Regulations relevant to this industry include those administered by the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture. Manufacturers and processors of items seeking special classification, such as organic or kosher, must be especially certain that their compliance strategies are meticulously documented – which can be a simple process within the OSH module of a well-designed CMMS.
  • Energy and utilities: The energy sector is home to a complicated supply chain that encompasses many different forms of energy generation, transmission, and distribution, each with their own specialized compliance requirements. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and North American Electric Reliability Corporation possess particular standards, and operators must ensure they document their safety, inspection, and maintenance efforts to stay in compliance with OSHA.
  • Mining: With heavy machinery and remote locations part and parcel of the industry experience, mining is a challenging realm for compliance and safety. Audits, inspections, safety checklists and more can be updated and reviewed via the cloud CMMS safety maintenance system or its mobile app for ultimate accessibility.

“Immediately gain transparency and efficiency from a new CMMS deployment with safety capabilities.”

The role of a safety maintenance system function

Modern CMMS deployments have the potential to revolutionize both maintenance and safety departments. Companies that are currently cobbling together operational frameworks from multiple systems and processes, with unclear communication or logging of activities, can immediately gain transparency and efficiency from a new CMMS deployment. When that CMMS comes equipped with an OSH function, safety performance and compliance can get the same kind of boost.

The OSH function is designed to help professionals perform all the activities that are essential to a safe workplace. From conducting audits to overseeing drills and maintaining meticulous records, safety and compliance are specifically addressed in conjunction with overall asset, equipment, and facility maintenance, using the same data that powers other functions such as work order generation, reporting, and spare parts management.

The record-keeping power of a modern CMMS is significant, which is why it makes perfect sense to handle safety functions through this solution. Keeping a single source of data is a great operational practice for any kind of maintenance department. When the subject in question is the safety of employees and compliance with related regulations, there is ample reason to put the CMMS to work for both the maintenance and safety functions.

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