The Impact of Equipment Reliability on Human Safety

By Dustin M. Etchison, CMRP, MSc – Reliability Engineering at University of Tennessee, Knoxville

My manager and I recently had an interesting discussion regarding the Asset Failure Curve (or PF, IPF, DIPF curve in certain circles, and is shown above). Our discussion ended up in a place where we were making correlations between equipment reliability and human safety.

Below is the Heinrich Safety Triangle, which we’ve all seen if we’ve ever been part of an industrial organization that had a broad focus on human safety.

What would it look like to turn this pyramid into its own curve and overlay it into the DIPF curve? The graphic below shows exactly that.

So what does this show us? Many conclusions can be made here. A few key takeaways are shown below:

  • The probability of an injury is significantly increased with non-routine maintenance activity resulting from equipment failures.
  • Connecting the importance of human safety to the importance of equipment reliability is critical in driving an injury-free culture.

How have you or your organization connected equipment reliability to human safety? Is there data proving this? What methods are in place to continue to push the limits of equipment reliability while improving human safety hand-in-hand? I would like your opinion on this subject. Thanks.

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