Equipment condition monitoring is a must for companies that want to avoid costly, productivity-killing safety violations.

In recent years, many countries with large scale mining, industrial and manufacturing operations have taken a more aggressive approach to developing and enforcing safety standards. These increasingly rigorous measures are in place to keep accidents from happening and can impose heavy penalties on those that violate their protocols, especially for repeat offenders. Equipment monitoring solutions are essential for providing the level of predictive maintenance crucial to keeping equipment functioning in line with mandated usage, not only for preventing accidents but in order to pass inspection with flying colors.

Several recent cases involving a number of safety violations have emphasized the need of equipment condition monitoring in any worksite where heavy machinery is involved. One company, Alliance Building and Contracting Ltd., based in the United Kingdom, recently announced a voluntary liquidation after they were heavily hit with fines for violating various safety protocols. Back in 2011, the company was working as the main contractor for a demolition and reconstruction project in London, but midway through the project, a 52.5 ft (16 m) scaffold fell into a busy street. Fortunately, there were no injuries, but the fallen scaffolds did block traffic and litter the pavement.

After an investigation, the Health and Safety Executive prosecuted the company for negligence and a lack of inspections. The violations cost the company more than $26,000, and the company went into liquidation. At the hearing, HSE inspector Charles Linfott cited poor equipment monitoring and management as part of the collapse.

"The case shows how important it is to actively manage all the risks on a construction site," he said.

OSHA deals out violations
In the United States, several companies have been recently under fire as well for not following safety protocol. An iron foundry in Shippensburg, Penn., was cited with 23 health and safety violations at their most recent inspection, according to The Sentinel. The investigation was conducted the the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which doled out violations carrying a penalty of $96,250. A financial hit of this magnitude can halt business progress and innovation and impede long term profitability. The violations included guard hazards for machinery, a lack of engineering controls related to silica, sulfur dioxide and iron oxide and loose doors on abrasive blasting enclosures.

"By not correcting the cited hazards, this company continues to jeopardize the safety and health of its workers, which will not be tolerated," stated Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA's Harrisburg Area Office, according to the news source. "OSHA will hold employers responsible when they fail to protect workers and provide safe and healthful workplaces."