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Maintenance Work in Extreme Environment: Challenges and Solutions

Maintenance

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Maintenance plays an essential role in keeping equipment in good condition. If you don’t maintain your machines, you will face equipment failure, health hazards, and other dangerous risks. Clearly, maintenance is a task you should never skip. But what about your workers, who perform these maintenance tasks?

Even if the machines themselves are automated, they will require human technicians to carry out any maintenance or repair tasks. So, the question is, what solutions are you implementing to support your employees who work in extreme environments while doing maintenance? Do you have a detailed knowledge of whats happening in the field and what challenges your workers face every day?

If not, take this opportunity to learn more about what is involved for your workers. Zuper wants to help you understand your technicians better and help you find the right solutions. Happy workers will help your business to flourish making sure your machines are running efficiently.

Maintenance in extreme environments: an overview

By the nature of the work itself, maintaining machinery in the construction industry can be a risky endeavor. The specific challenges of the construction industry arise from needing to work in extreme environments. For example, Maintenance cannot be done without physical contact with the machines. Once people are involved, there is always the chance for human error, and, therefore, accidents.

Second, in the construction industry, technicians work in extreme weather and humid conditions. At this moment, there are technicians working on maintenance projects from the Middle East to the Polar regions. An extreme environment does not stop them from doing their jobs, because maintenance and repair are critical and unavoidable tasks. So, technicians have no choice but to work in slippery areas, confined spaces, and unpleasant weather conditions. One thing is clear and that is people working in extreme environments are vulnerable to health issues.

Thirdly, the most significant threat to machine maintenance involves their electrical nature. There are many cases where field workers have been injured due to energized devices that had not been properly tagged-out. In some cases, this has resulted in casualties.

Challenges in maintenance

  1. Extreme heat
  2. Extreme cold
  3. Rain, snow, and storms
  4. Limited resources

1. Extreme heat

Extreme heat becomes unbearable for construction workers when they work longer in hot climates and develop illnesses such as fatigue, muscle damage, headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Working in hot weather is unavoidable because someone has to do maintenance tasks in desert countries like Saudi Arabia. Besides, your machine could malfunction due to overheating because of extreme weather. So, you may expect more machine malfunctions during extreme heat climatic conditions. Again, it falls on workers to fix the malfunctioned machines.

What you can do?

  • Provide your workers with Personal Protective Equipment. Make sure it is of good fabric that is heat resistant and, at the same time, breathable during extreme heat.
  • Give them frequent breaks to rest and stay hydrated. If the job is located in remote areas, arrange refreshments for the workers.
  • Arrange shade areas for workers to escape the sun and take a peaceful shelter during breaks.
  • Use cooling devices to prevent your overheating and, as a result, malfunctioning.
  • Don’t function your machines continuously to avoid overheating. Give them frequent breaks.

2. Extreme Cold

In the same way, extremely cold climate conditions also affect the health and wellness of the workers. Other than the normal winter climate, workers face extreme cold conditions in projects in polar and near mountainous regions. Technicians working in these conditions are susceptible to cold-related injuries such as frostbite, hypothermia, and reduced dexterity due to cold-numbed fingers. Also, extreme cold conditions may stop machines from working due to over-coldness.

What can you do?

  • Provide heat shelters in the working site for workers to warm up in cold climates.
  • Give them insulated clothing, gloves, and boots to protect against cold. Check each item for damage before distributing.
  • Use pre-heating equipment to keep the machines working.
  • Function the machine at least once a day, even when it is not required to run smoothly.

Operational shifts

3. Rain, snow, and storms

When it rains or snows, and when storms roll in, it can be pretty tricky for those field technicians working in construction. You see, all that moisture can be a real pain. It can mess up the construction materials and make surfaces super slippery, which means there’s a higher chance of accidents happening. And don’t get me started on storms! Lightning, strong winds, and even hail can be downright dangerous and mess up the whole construction process

What you can do?

  1. Prevent moisture damage to your resources and equipment using weather-resistant materials.
  2. Have an emergency evacuation plan to tackle weather events helps ensure the safety of construction workers and technicians.
  3. Utilizing weather monitoring systems and apps can provide real-time updates on approaching storms, enabling proactive measures.
  4. Ensuring that construction workers and technicians are trained in weather-related safety protocols, including lightning safety, is essential.

4. Limited resources

Another reason for the extreme work environment is limited resources. Construction projects in remote locations, such as infrastructure development in rural areas or buildings in off-grid regions, may lack access to critical resources like clean water and electricity. This can impact construction progress, worker comfort, and equipment operation. Besides, electricity is the driving force of machines, and if there is a disturbed or no electricity facility in an area, it becomes a difficult environment to work.

What you can do?

  • Maintaining stockpiles of essential resources, such as clean water, fuel, and construction materials, ensures a steady supply for construction processes and technician needs.
  • Employing backup power generation solutions, such as generators or solar panels, can provide a reliable source of electricity in remote areas.
  • Resource Recycling: Implementing recycling and water treatment systems can help conserve resources and reduce the environmental impact of construction operations.

 

Construction cost estimating

How field service management software helps

1. Streamlines communication with up-to-date weather alerts

Passing on a piece of information to all your workers is quite a difficult task. It is possible to miss people when using manual methods. Field service management software solves this by providing instant messaging options, real-time alerts, and integrations with top-notch communication tools. Using these communication tools on either web or mobile, you can communicate safety protocols and other information quickly and easily.

2. Reduce the risk of overheating with preventive maintenance

Field service management software performs the function of tracking the health of your machines to prevent breakdown or other malfunctions. Using that, you can schedule preventive maintenance of machines, allowing you to reduce the hazard to technicians by minimizing contact with the machine, while still meeting maintenance requirements.

3. Get real-time weather updates 

FSM integration with weather monitoring systems helps you with real-time weather updates. Using that data, you can send relevant messages to your workers, such as telling them to leave work early or stay inside due to excess heat.

4. Optimizes work order based on the need

Work order management in FSM software helps automate scheduling and dispatching. Suppose a technician is unable to continue work, FSM software instantly reassigns the work to another person based on the priority of the job and the closest available technician.

5. Thorough documentation

Technicians can use the software to document their work, including the condition of machines and any maintenance they have performed. This data can be valuable for tracking machine performance in extreme environments and identifying patterns or recurring issues.

Road ahead

Take action now and help your workers in extreme work environments. Make maintenance easier with field service management software. Tying something new is better than never trying anything at all. Contact Zuper and try a free trial of our field service management software and see if it fulfills your business needs.

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