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Equipment Downtime and Lost Time Incidents

For many years, Aerojet Maintenance has struggled with worker injuries and lost time or time away from work associated with those injuries. In addition to the lost time issue, machinery breakdowns and obsolete and antiquated machinery are major problems that the maintenance department has to contend with on a daily basis. On initial review, there appeared to be a connection between when employees sustained work-associated injuries and when a piece or pieces of equipment were out of service. Since these issues have a major impact on the maintenance department and consequently the overall yearly budget allocation, it was this team's project to determine if there is a correlation between machinery breakdowns and lost time incidents within the maintenance department. If the hypothesis is correct, the effect of equipment downtime to the overall yearly budget is greater than initially thought, as is the effect of employee injuries.

The initial that the team wanted to address was the high amount of paid time away in the maintenance department. The first process of the research was to identify from the staff what the issue was. A survey was formulated to ask the maintenance staff if the issue was from management or from the work environment. The questions were designed off of the Gallup organizations Q12 survey. The questions were given a value from 1 to 5 one being strongly disagree to strongly agree. The questions in the survey given to the workers were as follows:

1. I have received recognition in the past five days

2. I have the best working tools

3. I have all of the equipment needed to do the best job possible

4. I know what is expected of me at work

5. I feel someone at my job cares about my success

There are seventy seven workers in the maintenance department, and the team chose every eleventh person on the payroll to do the survey. The results from the survey from the seven people selected all put strongly disagree to having the best working tools, and I have all of the equipment needed to do the best job possible. The other questions varied from agree to strongly agree with I know what is expected of me at work, I have received recognition in the past five days, and I feel someone cares about my success. From the results of the survey the management aspect did not seem to be the issue, however the equipment did have the most negative answers. The research then focused on the equipment for being the issue for having time away.

Primary data recorded shows outdated machines are causing work related injuries. The old machines require more effort and focus to control as well as more frequent preventive maintenance inspections and periodic refurbishments. The modern machines are computer controlled and do not require manual labor to operate but also require technicians familiar with newer technologies. These machines randomly break down due to broken parks or the inability to find spare parts.

Many are outdated and original equipment parts cannot be readily located, for reasons such as the vendor no longer manufactures them or the vendor themselves are no longer in business. Custom steel fabricators must often repair machines with spare parts that are used or previously worn to some extent. Technicians must modify faulty electrical circuits with remanufactured motors and cables. These parts often break down or wear out more quickly than new parts from a factory. When using 'make due' parts, there is always a danger of an employee injuring himself or herself by forcing a part to work and possibly causing a tool to slip and causing an injury.

Employees are feeling the strain because manual labor is required when operating the machinery. Work related injuries such as back problems, slipping on leaking fluids, cutting themselves on a sharp or damaged blade, straining to reach a remote part are frequent. Stress from operating the machines must also be considered as related to mental distress. Employees who take ownership become overly stressed when a piece of machinery is down and there is nothing he or she can do except wait on a part to be delivered or try to force another part to work. While this is happening, the production team is bombarding them with questions as to when they can resume production. This type of atmosphere creates stress and employees feel rushed and pushed into finding a solution. When employees feel rushed to accomplish a job, accidents tend to increase.

Work injury reports were calculated and compared to the usage of the outdated machines and components. The comparisons show a high injury cause and effect that directly relates to machine breakdowns. Random surveys previously conducted also correlate that employees feel that old machines lack modern safety standards.

The research for the lost time hours issue in the maintenance department is initiated by collecting primary data from the Aerospace annual reports, and from internal surveys from workers. This specific information is researched through Aerojet's annual reports, which provide detailed information about divisions and subdivisions of a company. The purpose of collecting the data from Aerospace will be to identify the main issue for



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