The Link Between APM & EHS: Sometimes It Isn't So Obvious

EHS_LNS_vision-2.pngWe have published posts linking asset performance management (APM) to safety and operational risk management, and it just seems obvious that poorly maintained equipment leads to poor Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) performance. Unfortunately, outside of the links between equipment failures and safety incidents,the data that leads to direct evidence of poor maintenance maintenance causing poor environmental performance or worker health is more difficult to come by.

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That is not to say that there are not plenty of models that predict poor maintenance leads to poor environmental performance. On the contrary, several maintenance handbooks and a number of post incident review reports such as that published after the Deepwater Horizon incident all make the assertion of the linkage between the two topics.

However, hard data is missing. It shows a direct correlation between APM performance as measured by such variables as % downtime or uptime, equipment MTBF, MTTR, or other APM metrics. It also shows corresponding pollution measures, such as pounds of pollutant emitted over a period or by incident. Likewise, just due to the chronic and long term exposure nature of many occupational health issues the tracing back of problems to specific APM performance isn’t readily available.

Pollution Reporting is Part of the Problem

In some respects, pollution reporting is part of the problem. Many jurisdictions allow for increased emissions during periods of operational abnormality and even allow for “breakdown reporting.” Where there is failure of primary or even pollution abatement equipment, there is cause for modified reporting. The implicit recognition that equipment failures lead to higher emissions and altering the reporting requirements to allow for repair further complicates the tracking of the correlation between maintenance performance and emissions performance.

Big Data and Descriptive Analytics Will Provide Some Clarity

As both regulatory bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) associated with EHS and sustainability begin to leverage the power of Big Data to find the worst offenders, and to identify the causes and subsequent remedies to poor performance. There is the promise that the linkages between APM and EHS performance will become better understood, and that hard data will indicate which data elements in both disciplines act as the best indicators and measure of good performance.

Until Big Data Pays Off “Little Data” Will Have to Suffice

When looking at the data in the LNS Research EHS and APM surveys there is clear evidence that companies are measuring their performance in appropriate areas. Unfortunately, the respondents to the surveys are not closely linked, so that we can ascertain with any statistical validity that improved performance in one area leads to or is dependent on improved performance in another. What we can determine is that companies with good maintenance practices have higher OEE on average than companies that do not manage their maintenance performance or have measurement programs in place. Likewise, companies that have good OEE tend to more closely attend to good EHS performance measurement and reporting practices. So while the data sets are too small to declare that APM and EHS performance are directly linked, we can say that companies with better than average OEE tend to behave better in both APM and EHS areas.

Join us on Tuesday, March 29, at 1:00 pm EDT as Andrew Hughes presents the results from the fourth iteration of the Metrics that Matter research study conducted between LNS Research and MESA International, and places particular focus on how the deployment of IIoT, Cloud, and Analytics are transforming manufacturing today.IIoT eBook 2016

All entries in this Industrial Transformation blog represent the opinions of the authors based on their industry experience and their view of the information collected using the methods described in our Research Integrity. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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