3 causes and solutions for human errors during maintenance

August 26, 2021
3 causes and solutions for human errors during maintenance

The industrial technology trend is towards the progressive automation of processes and assets monitoring, for productivity gains and greater assertiveness during maintenance actions.

However, as much as this is the way ahead, human labor is crucial for the operation of a production line.

Both during operation and maintenance, the performance of professionals is subject to errors, which can lead to the occurrence of serious accidents or significant financial loss.

To mitigate the effects of human errors, it is important to know precisely the causes of their occurrence, and then apply solutions and continuous follow-ups, avoiding recurrence.

In this text, we will present three of the main causes of human errors during industrial maintenance routines, and actions that should be taken to solve them. Read on!

Violations and human errors

Violations are understood as attitudes in which the professional is aware of what he is doing during maintenance, but is not clear about the results.

In these cases, most violations during maintenance occur in machinery that operates for long hours or uninterruptedly. Maintenance violations are deliberate deviations from rules and can cause interruption of an entire line, or even severe accidents.

The solutions to avoid these types of human errors are quite straightforward: preventive and predictive maintenance and operator training.

Sensitive inspection is one of the activities that puts employees at risk. For a successful and productive maintenance route, tools can be used to assist in this activity, such as the DynaSens online inspection module.

On the other hand, components in critical assets gain an ally if the continuous monitoring of vibration and temperature condition is applied, through technological solutions and compliance with data-driven principles for maintenance.

Operating and performing maintenance on industrial machinery requires adequate training and recurrent improvements, so failures can be reduced.

Another important measurement is the testing of the process after the maintenance has been carried out, intending to check that there were no errors during the work execution. Wireless sensing is the most accurate way to make this measuring procedure.

On the other hand, failures by non-deliberate actions can be caused by performing repetitive tasks or if they are performed by the same professional for a long period of time.

To curb this kind of error, more attention must be paid to the operator’s training so that they master the process and the operation.

The investigation of human errors in maintenance should follow an investigative script, in order to collect the largest amount of data and information about the causes and recurring damages, avoiding recurrence.

The data should be stored in a maintenance database for future reference.

It is important to highlight that, regardless of the volume of failures, good maintenance management is essential in this process, both for the technician and the availability of the machinery.

Human unpredictability

There are many factors that influence the behavior and work of a human being.

During the performance of an activity, such as maintenance, several factors can influence our professional performance. Some of the most common examples are: demotivation, fatigue, carelessness, lack of planning and training, and mastery of the activity.

These influences are often difficult to measure and detect.

To circumvent them and find a suitable professional to perform maintenance, one solution is to adopt the Human Error Probability Index (HEPI).

Briefly, it is the standardization of human errors so that they are ranked in a table according to their rates and specialization of the performed work.

The index is based on the mathematical probability of occurrence, and it indicates the propensity for error.

External Factors

External factors also affect the performance of an operator. They can be classified into three groups:

  • physical: noise, ventilation, temperature and toxicity;
  • environmental: lighting, length of work day, shift and machinery layout;
  • human: qualification, training and limitations.

To address the external factors, it is considered a good practice to look after the efficiency and well-being at each of the workstations. In large-scale companies, it is not uncommon to have a dedicated professional dealing with these aspects of the operation.

Also, once again, proper training for all technical levels within the industry is one of the most effective solutions to reduce human errors during maintenance.

Did you enjoy these tips? Continue exploring our content with this post about remote maintenance.


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