Introducing More Effective Lighting Maintenance Planning
Maintaining a proper lighting level is always a challenge on industrial sites. Lack of illumination on catwalks, platforms and exterior staircases causes productivity and worker safety issues.
Dark spots in worker traffic areas hide trip hazards and may also mask slippery areas. This increases the potential for worker slips and falls, leading to potentially catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
At the same time, lighting maintenance planners are faced with keeping expenses to a minimum. On elevated surfaces, special equipment is necessary to reach the lighting fixtures for repairs and routine maintenance. Elevated Work Platforms (EWPs), scaffolding, and other methods of elevating the worker to fixture level become necessary.
Often, the expense and time involved to put in place this type of elevating equipment is cost prohibitive for smaller maintenance tasks, such as the changing of a single lamp or fixture. As a result, a fixture is often allowed to remain unrepaired, increasing and prolonging the potential for productivity and safety issues.
The old process of lighting maintenance planning
A routine scenario under the current, inefficient planning system often follows this pattern:
- An operator discovers an outage or it is reported in a safety meeting.
- The outage is reported by entering a notice in the company’s maintenance planning system.
- The maintenance planner receives the notification and begins the work order process.
- Scheduling often require interaction and collaboration of several other supervisors or trade groups. For instance, a planned shutdown of the affected area is often required.
- The electrical maintenance department must be notified so that proper repair parts are obtained, if necessary. Other departments may also be involved.
- The equipment (EWP, scaffolds, etc), is booked in. For this time, the area may be roped off or unusable due to the dangerous conditions and the presence of this equipment.
- The maintenance department carry out the repair, but while the area is shutdown, they replace all lightbulbs regardless of condition.
Along with other electrical maintenance and shutdown managers, the person responsible for securing the EWP or other necessary equipment gets involved in the entire planning and repair process.
In most of these scenarios, additional equipment such as fall protection gear must also be used. This includes harnesses, lanyards, carabiners and other related equipment. Not only do these items require inspections before and after use, but on a regularly scheduled basis as well. Damaged parts must be removed from service. Any equipment that is involved in a fall must be removed from service and replaced as well.
The number of workers involved in the actual repair depends on the method used to elevate the repair technician to the fixture’s level. For example, if using an EWP or similar lifting device, a device operator is necessary as well as ground personnel to keep the work area secure from traffic.
If using scaffolding, additional workers are needed to assemble the equipment and to disassemble it to move it to another location or to place it back in storage.
All these planning steps and equipment/labor expenses make it unfeasible for single fixture maintenance or repair. Therefore, an entire section or area is often included in the repair to make better use of the time and money involved.
However, this also contributes to further unnecessary costs and waste because the expense incurred in repairing damaged lighting fixtures or lamps is great. Lamps are often replaced long before their lumen maintenance lifecycle is reached.
There is a now a proven, more efficient, cost-effective method of lighting maintenance planning and repair.
Spot repairs made feasible
Some parts of the scheduling process will always remain. For example, the repair must always be entered into the SAP or other scheduling/tracking software.
However, spot repairs should not require extensive scheduling and planning. If the right light pole product is installed, the need for extensive safety measures can be reduced, and often eliminated altogether.
The optimum outcome is for the work to be lowered to the worker’s level, which means equipment is unnecessary to raise the technician to the fixture height. Scaffolds, ladders, fall protection gear, and elevated work platforms are no longer needed.
Additionally, since work can easily be performed on a single fixture, it is not necessary to schedule an entire group of fixtures for maintenance and repair or to arrange large-scale shutdowns to facilitate this work. This means that lighting is not taken out of service before it’s reached its end of life cycle.
So, how are these efficient, cost effective repairs made possible?
Swivelpole™ saves millions in maintenance
The Swivelpole™ system allows the fixture to be lowered to the technician’s level. Loosening the locking nuts and disengaging a single safety pin is all that is required to lower the fixture to the worker — whether on catwalk, work platform or exterior staircase.
Only one technician is needed to perform the operation. This means a significant savings on labor costs normally incurred by the use of multiple personnel on a single repair. When repairs are done, the technician merely raises the pole back to its upright position, re-engages the pin and retightens the nuts and then the operation is complete.
Additionally, instead of four lighting technicians working on a single fixture, you can have four individuals working on a separate repair. Figuring in the time incurred in the setting up and breaking down of safety equipment, these workers are able to repair multiple fixtures in less time than it would take to repair one, using the old system.
The Swivelpole™ system generates real cost savings over the life of a plant and saves millions of dollars in maintenance as well as the dramatic reduction in OH&S risks associated with maintenance or upgrades.
Lighting upgrades are easier as well
When testing or upgrading to newer, more efficient lighting technologies, the time and labor involved is equal to a routine lighting repair.
However, the Swivelpole™ system brings efficiency to these tasks as well. Whether you are trialing a newer technology, such as LED fixtures, or upgrading an entire area to a newer lighting system, Swivelpole™ brings safety, ergonomics and labor cost-savings to a new lighting installation.
While the Swivelpole™ is often specified in new construction, the system can be easily converted to existing non-lowering light poles on brownfield facilities using the pole conversion system. This system allows efficient conversion without disturbing the integrity of the existing wiring system and without the need for a hot work permit or area shutdowns.
It is time to look at your existing procedure for routine and emergency lighting repair and compare it with the savings possible, both in time and money, by using the Swivelpole™ system. Your operating expenses could be dramatically reduced over the life of a plant and saves you millions of dollars in maintenance.
The Swivelpole™ lowering pole solution is recognised globally for providing simple, fast and affordable access to light fixtures and equipment. The innovative access solutions eliminate the risk of working at heights, through the controlled lowering of light fixtures and equipment to a safe and comfortable working position.
Maxis™ is the next generation lowering pole solution for safely accessing light fixtures and equipment.