Health, Safety, and Environmental processes directly impact every aspect of an engineering and construction project. We understand this at Optimation, which is why we have worked hard to develop a total approach to HSE challenges. Our HSE process is integral to our operations whether we are moving a manufacturing line from one plant to another, designing and fabricating a new line from client specifications, or providing additional multi-engineering and skilled trades services. The reason behind this is clear: when an organization integrates HSE programs into everyday roles and responsibilities, you get improved - bottom up/top down performance. What is already known and proven is that HSE performance is measurable both qualitatively and quantitatively. Lower incident and injury rates ultimately mean lower employee turnover, higher productivity, and lower overhead costs. This translates into completion of a project on time, on budget, and without incident.
The Challenging Question We Often Face.
Recently, I was challenged by a friend, who is not associated with our business, if I could explain why one of our prospective clients why they would hire an outside design/build engineering firm.The client has the capability to produce products in their manufacturing plants, and would thus have a fair amount of in house capability. This is a very provocative question, and one which we are regularly challenged to answer. As I reflected on the varied reasons that support our business, I decided that rather than give my usual elevator speech, I would have a bit of fun with my answer. So, here are what we observe are the top ten reasons (in ascending order) why our clients do routinely ask us to participate, as viewed from their perspective:
Getting employees to follow the rules, even rules that keep them safe, is difficult. For some segments of the population is seems impossible. Everyone knows, for example, that talking on a cell phone while driving is dangerous, and against the law in most states. But a large percentage of the population continue to talk on a handheld phone while driving anyway. This is even more true of texting and driving. And accidents and deaths continue.
For those of you who believe your data really resides in a cloud, I’m about to burst your bubble. Did you know that 99 percent of the data traffic that is crossing oceans is carried by undersea cables? Yep – that’s right. For those of you that think Amazon, Microsoft, Dell, Google, IBM, & Alibaba are the data traffic kings, think again (although they may help fund the majority of these cables).
The introduction of collaborative robots (cobots) in manufacturing has presented some unique safety challenges for production workers, engineers, managers, and safety professionals. In my opinion, cobots represent the ingenuity driven by continual process improvement for sustainable and safe work.
Following up on my last blog post, I continue the discussion acknowledging that safety is not trivial or to be taken for granted. It is multi-level and is tied to the long-term success of each project and every client. The first three levels of safety covered were operator, consumer/customer, and product/process. This post covers the remaining two: equipment and environment.
Safety is not trivial or to be taken for granted. It comes in multiple varieties, is multi-level, and is inherently tied to the long-term success of each project and every client. These levels of safety include operator, consumer/customer, product/process, equipment and environment. Each level requires and receives due diligence, understanding the unique parameters of the project and the measures of success that bound the work. Several of these levels will be described further here, highlighting the value delivered to the project in the safe and efficient process and outcome of the work. The remaining safety levels will be discussed in a subsequent post.
When you stop and think about it, what control system integrators are brought in to deliver is some specific capability with our expertise and experience that ensures the safe and efficient accomplishment of the mission. If the client’s own internal experts, or certified integrators, are not able to do the job, then other resources (uncredentialled, unverified) might be asked to do the work, jeopardizing the processes, procedures and qualitative metrics.
Pet food manufacturing is a 20-billion-dollar industry. In the United States, the manufacture of pet food is regulated in the same way and with the same rigid requirements that are required for the manufacture of any food. At Optimation we are engaged in the construction of pet food plants as well as facilities for the dairy and other food products. We know that the facilities for both are the same. They must be sanitary, easy to maintain and clean. The control systems must maintain the same high standards for metering, mixing and packaging.
The pet food industry in the United States is huge and growing. In 2017, American families spent over 30 million dollars on pet food. On average that’s about 800 dollars per year per pet. There are about 300 manufacturers making this pet food in the United States. If you’re a pet owner yourself, these numbers may not be much of a surprise! What you may not realize is that just like food for people, pet food is regulated.
Today there are stringent regulations put in place by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the manufacturing of food for pets. These regulations are strict enough that some feel they hinder the growth of the pet food market. The regulations were put in place to assure several things. It’s mandatory that pet food be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, free of harmful substances, and labeled truthfully. Canned pet food must also comply with the regulations for any low-acid canned food. Much of the motivation to enhance regulations for pet food was driven pet food recalls that took place in 2007.