Mike is working a production line as usual, when the power blinks, then goes out completely. All the sounds he’s used to hearing suddenly stop, and all the lights go out. He can hardly see, and the windows are only allowing so much light to come through. Grabbing his phone, he turns on the flashlight setting and carefully makes his way to a space where his coworkers have started to gather. The buzz at first centers on what to do at the moment, but soon turns to talk of ‘why don’t we have a plan?’
A situation like this is undesirable and potentially dangerous. Since Mike and his coworkers have never been briefed or told about what to do in cases like this, they are left stumbling in the dark without a clue. Their company will likely lose money during this downtime, and workers may sustain injuries.
When a factory has a power outage, it can cause undue financial loss and stress for employees. If there is no preparation, time, money, and potentially equipment could be at risk. No one can control when a power outage occurs, so it’s best to stay prepared. Employers and employees should always have an action plan in the event of total power loss.
The Effects of Power Loss
According to Pro Circuit Incorporated, one in four companies will experience power loss at least once a month. When you lose power suddenly, panic and stress can set in. Workers may be plunged into darkness with no idea what to do next. If you and your workers are unprepared to deal with and fix the situation, the extended downtime could also cost money.
Beyond that, injuries can happen to employees and equipment can be ruined. The goal is to get back up and running as quickly as possible, but also to plan for such outages.
A Loss In Production
Besides the initial panic that stems from a power loss, another result is the loss in production. The entire production line may have to wait for the return of power. As more time passes with the power out, the more financial losses that occur. Losses from a power shutdown can be prevented with proper planning.
Planning for the unexpected is crucial to factory work, as any significant change in the usual course of production can have negative consequences. Aside from the potential financial loss, a sudden power outage could result in injuries to employees. If chemicals are being processed or used for production, a power outage could cause a chemical spill or accident to occur.
Being Prepared for Power Loss: Ready Or Not, Here It Comes
When your factory experiences a power outage, there will be a lot of confusion and people may not be able to effectively communicate with each other. If there is a plan in place, employees can follow it to get to safety if they need to, or get production back online.
Compare it to the procedure schools follow in the event of a fire. For many schools, each class follows their teacher to the nearest exit, and everyone stands at a significant distance from the building for safety reasons and to allow room for firefighters to pull up and save the day. If schools didn’t have a procedure for events like this, there would be chaos and an increased risk of someone getting hurt or killed in the confusion.
Each company should have a plan in place in the event of a power outage. The actual plan will differ from company to company, but it’s best to assemble a small group of workers whose responsibility would be to take charge whenever an outage occurs.
The group could check in with other employees to see if the outage is only in one part of the facility or throughout the whole building, check for injuries among workers, and/or connect and activate any available generators. Your workers should also be supplied with battery-powered flashlights that they can use if they can’t see.
Solutions For Controlling Power
It would be wise to invest in industrial generators that kick in during an outage so production can continue. In addition to owning generators, you will need to maintain them. Make sure a small group of employees is assigned generator duty. Inform them of what they’re supposed to do for year-round generator upkeep to ensure they run when they’re needed, and teach them how to activate and use the generators.
If you don’t already have back-generators, there are some things to consider first, before you buy. For example, according to PMI Services, you must be aware of the running load of each emergency circuit so you know what size generator to get. You might also want to consider a rental agreement for one if purchasing it is not ideal. It’s important that fuel tanks are filled and that you know where to get more fuel if there’s an outage. Upon purchasing and installation, inform employees on how to connect and use the generator(s).
Are You Prepared For An Outage?
Being prepared for an outage means having an action plan and knowing what to do. Aside from planning, workers may need training to ensure they know alternate ways to navigate and operate parts of the facility when electrical power is unavailable.
Is your facility ready for a power outage? Here are some preparation tips:
- – Equip workers with battery-powered flashlights
- – Be sure to have landlines or radio communication available for reliable contact
- – Inspect emergency lighting regularly for functionality
- – Ensure your smoke alarm system has batteries as a backup
- – Have a way to get disabled workers down to the ground floor when elevators are not powered
- – Inform workers on how to manually close and open electrically powered doors
To help prevent power outages, it would be wise to identify circuits properly, conduct proper testing, and be sure schematics get updated as needed.
To learn more about planning and preparation for power loss, contact us or call 205-812-5402.