Ensuring the maintenance, reliability and physical asset management profession receives proper safety training is one goal.
by Carl Schultz
March 8, 2019

In October 2018, the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP) announced a new two-year alliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The alliance is aimed at engaging SMRP’s membership of more than 6,500 practitioners and professionals and their employers to provide resources to reduce and prevent exposure to safety and health hazards in the maintenance, reliability and physical asset management profession. The alliance will also serve to create awareness about the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

Through the expertise of OSHA and SMRP, this alliance will connect reliability, workforce development, and workplace health and safety by focusing on training small businesses and young workers. As trends have indicated, the country is facing a skills gap as older, highly skilled generations enter retirement. Young employees are entering the workforce and it is imperative that they receive necessary safety training and resources.

A driving factor in creating this alliance with OSHA was to provide SMRP members with resources aimed at improving reliability and asset management practices that have a direct positive impact on safety in both the short and long term. This could include the operation and use of any tools and equipment involved in the day-to-day management of operating plants and facilities.

Because SMRP has more than 6,500 members, involvement spans across multiple sectors. Society members range from Rockwell Automation to Pfizer to Nissan. For example, members involved in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry are exposed to injury through the use of drilling machines. In the manufacturing sector, the operation of cranes can lead to serious hazards, and the utilities industry operates bucket trucks, machinery and high-voltage wires that expose employees to hazards. These sectors are also users of rotating equipment and industrial pumps to move liquids and other materials.

The use of this complex equipment brings along safety challenges that must be addressed to ensure a safe workforce. SMRP’s partnership with OSHA will provide opportunities to educate and address members on how to reduce injury and hazards. By collaborating with OSHA, SMRP has positioned itself to support ongoing safety education and training for maintenance and reliability professionals across these industries and businesses, big and small.

Furthermore, SMRP encourages overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and preventative maintenance (PM) measures in order to keep operating plants and factories running efficiently and safely, which has a direct correlation to a reduction in injuries. By encouraging members to initiate proactive workplace safety and reliability measures, we are promoting opportunities for reduced costs and increased rewards. According to Ron Moore, managing partner of the PM Group, “Reliable plants maximize benefits—production capability, on-time delivery, quality, lower costs, higher gross profits… and minimize risks—risk of injury, risk of production loss, risk of higher costs and risk of major incidents.” (Moore, 2014)

In more than four decades, OSHA and its state partners, coupled with the efforts of employers, safety and health professionals, unions and advocates, have had a dramatic effect on workplace safety. However, there is still much work to do. This alliance demonstrates a commitment to develop and provide valuable safety and health information to help employers and employees identify job-related hazards and prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

SMRP has already begun promoting the alliance through various avenues. At SMRP’s Annual Conference in Orlando, more than 1,200 maintenance and reliability professionals heard from OSHA Senior Program Analyst Todd Briggs about the benefits of the partnership and opportunities to get involved with OSHA.

SMRP staff will also use a variety of print and media channels to promote the benefits of the alliance. SMRP will share information on OSHA’s National Initiatives and opportunities to participate in the rule-making process. Members will also have opportunities to participate in forums, roundtable discussions and stakeholder meetings.

SMRP will collaborate with other alliance participants on projects that reduce and prevent exposure to safety and health hazards in the maintenance, reliability and physical asset management. Our hope is that through this partnership with OSHA, SMRP will be able to serve as a leading voice in encouraging innovative solutions to addressing and preventing injuries, providing resources that protect our members and ensuring safe workplace environments. Ultimately, this alliance was established with the goal of promoting workplace safety by sharing information and creating innovative solutions in order to demonstrate that a reliable workforce is a safe workforce.

To learn more about the alliance and to find resources, visit www.smrp.org/government-relations/issues/workplace-safety.