11 Feb 2015

Assumptions are dangerous things

“Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make -- bombs, for instance, or strawberry shortcake -- if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble. Making assumptions simply means believing things are a certain way with little or no evidence that shows you are correct, and you can see at once how this can lead to terrible trouble. For instance, one morning you might wake up and make the assumption that your bed was in the same place that it always was, even though you would have no real evidence that this was so. But when you got out of your bed, you might discover that it had floated out to sea, and now you would be in terrible trouble all because of the incorrect assumption that you'd made. You can see that it is better not to make too many assumptions, particularly in the morning.”
Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy

Never has this quote been more appropriate than when placing the context within the workplace. Lemony Snicket sums it up perfectly “believing things are a certain way with little or no evidence that shows you are correct” and the consequences of these assumptions, if left unquestioned, can be catastrophic.

“Assumptions are dangerous things.”
Agatha Christie, The Herb of Death

The thought process of an employee can take many turns and the infographic shows the importance of managing that process to ensure that correct and informed decisions are made. It is easy to get complacent when it comes to equipment safety. If an employee uses the same equipment every day (eg forklift/ladder/vehicle etc) without carrying out routine checks it is easy for them to fall into the trap of assuming that “it was fine yesterday even though it made a few odd noises, I’m sure it will be fine today”. Each day that this assumption continues to be made, so the false feeling of security grows, until the equipment in question “floats out to sea”.

The cost of burying your head in the sand and assuming that everything is ok can be high. Thinking reactively and failing to properly plan and schedule work undoubtedly leads to equipment failures which on average costs 3 to 5 times more than preventative maintenance.

Unplanned, reactive maintenance has many overhead costs that can be avoided when implementing a Safe Equipment Management System (SEMS). The cost of unplanned maintenance includes lost production; higher costs for parts and shipping; as well as time lost responding to emergencies and diagnosing faults while equipment is not working.

When maintenance is planned, each of these costs can be reduced. Equipment can be shut down to coincide with production downtime. Prior to the shutdown, any required parts, supplies and personnel can be gathered to minimise the time taken for a repair. These measures decrease the total cost of the maintenance.

Safety is also improved because equipment breaks down less often.

Putting the right systems in place to encourage routine checks in line with your maintenance program is likely lead to long term savings as well as improving workplace safety.

Good to Go Safety offers an affordable and effective solution. A tag is attached to the equipment to serve as a visual reminder to employees that equipment shouldn’t be used until a routine maintenance check has been completed. Choose the relevant checklist to your equipment type and tick through the required checks before signed and dating. Upon completion the checklist is inserted inside the tag and the status/date displayed in the window for all to see (choose from a “Good to Go” or “Do Not Use” message). A duplicate copy of each completed checklist is also retained in the check book as part of your management recording system and will prove invaluable evidence in the event of an accident involving the equipment.

*For more information visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk

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