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Events in the Life Cycle of Equipment and Machines

dateDecember 06, 2022

In the vast expanse of the industrial world, equipment and machinery stand as testament to human innovation and engineering prowess. However, they also come with their own set of challenges and hazards. Recognizing the intricate stages in the life cycle of these machines is paramount to ensuring safety and efficiency in an industrial setting. This article delves into the various phases of a machine's lifespan and emphasizes the significance of proper safety procedures at each stage.

A Comprehensive Overview of Equipment Life Cycle Stages:

  1. Erection: Assembling and setting up the machine's infrastructure and foundation.
  2. Installation: Fitting the machinery into its designated space, ensuring it's connected to all necessary utilities.
  3. Commissioning: Initiating and testing the machine to ensure it operates as intended.
  4. Normal Operation: Regular usage of the equipment for its designed purpose.
  5. Lubrication: Ensuring that machine parts are adequately lubricated to prevent wear and tear.
  6. Simple Tool Change: Replacing or adjusting tools integral to the machine's function.
  7. Minor Adjustment: Making small tweaks to optimize performance.
  8. Cleaning: Regular maintenance to ensure machinery is free from dirt and obstructions.
  9. Unjamming: Removing blockages and ensuring smooth operation.
  10. Repair: Addressing any malfunction or damage.
  11. Upgrading: Incorporating new technologies or components to enhance performance.
  12. Disassembly: Breaking down the machine for relocation or end-of-life procedures.
  13. Decommission: Retiring the machinery from active service.
  14. Replacement: Swapping out the old machine for a new or improved version.

Navigating the Hazards of the Life Cycle:

The inherent nature of machinery in the industrial landscape is to harness and manipulate energy to achieve desired outcomes. However, this energy, essential for productivity, can become hazardous to those working around or with these machines.

The nuanced stages of the machine's life cycle, from erection to decommissioning, present various potential risks. While operational hazards can often be mitigated with proper safeguards, specific procedures, and specialized tools, as the risks during maintenance and servicing can be significantly higher. This is particularly true during pivotal events like installation, commissioning, and upgrading, where traditional safeguards may be compromised or rendered ineffective.

The Imperative of Lockout Tagout (LOTO):

The dangers lurking during maintenance and servicing events are accentuated by direct interactions with the machinery, often without the typical operational safeguards. In such scenarios, accidents and injuries are not just possibilities but probabilities unless preventive measures are taken. This is where Lockout Tagout (LOTO) procedures become invaluable. Implementing LOTO standards ensures that machinery is rendered inert, preventing any accidental activation or release of stored energy. In essence, LOTO acts as a sentinel, guarding against the unexpected and ensuring worker safety during critical interactions with machinery.

The journey of machinery from its inception to retirement is a long and intricate one, interspersed with various events and sub-events. Navigating this journey safely demands a thorough understanding of each stage and a commitment to rigorous safety protocols. As industries evolve and machinery becomes even more complex, the guiding principles of safety, exemplified by procedures like Lockout Tagout, remain the steadfast beacon, ensuring that human lives are always valued above all.

E-Square Compliance and Education Division
About the Author

E-Square Compliance and Education Division

A team of safety professionals and educators united to enhance workplace safety with essential Lockout Tagout knowledge. We offer expertise to foster safety compliance and effective LOTO protocols across industries.

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