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2020 / 2021 Edition

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How Clean is Your Quarry?

First published in the September 2015 issue of Quarry Management as ‘How clean is your site?’

A well maintained site can be the key to a smooth-running plant. Ryan Barker, global service manager at CDE Global, evaluates the often underestimated gains of maintaining a clean and tidy site over and above regular plant maintenance

With maximum productivity being at the forefront of most businesses minds, very often the basic principles of site housekeeping are overlooked or even ignored. While a plant is processing material, it is easy for the operator in charge, or even the site owner, to assume that it will continue to do so without any care or attention being given to the surrounding areas or even the plant itself.

This, however, is not always the case. As well as obviously being a major step towards promoting a healthy and safe working environment, good, consistent site housekeeping can go a long way in ensuring that a plant continues to produce high-quality products at a consistent rate, the reasons for which are outlined below.

The advantages of best-practice site maintenance

  1. A reduction in clean-up costs: Taking a proactive approach to site maintenance and adopting a ‘tidy as you go’ policy over the life of a quarry will ultimately reduce the time and money spent on site clean-up during periods when the plant may be shut down or non-operational, for example through the winter months in some cases. A well-conserved site is less laborious to maintain than one that has been subject to poor upkeep in the past.
  2. Avoidance of regulatory fines: A company which ensures a clean, well-organized site avoids potential penalties from various industry-related regulatory bodies and other legal entities.
  3. Enhancement of employee safety and morale: Employees that feel safe at work are more prone to feeling happier in the workplace, which in turn can lead to staff making a greater personal impact in the company. In simple terms, this can mean increased productivity, reduced absence from work and even higher staff retention.
  4. Generation of revenue and increased efficiency: Regular site maintenance can help accommodate high productivity levels and, more importantly, the creation of high-quality end products. Furthermore, a clean and well-organized quarry can increase production efficiency by ensuring open paths and roadways for easier access to the plant. Regular preventative maintenance on key areas of a plant will ultimately maximize uptime through planned and routine checks.
  5. Freeing up manpower: Having a continuous and regular focus on site maintenance will ensure that site housekeeping is integral to the business and, therefore, more manageable. This can, in turn, save employees more time in the long term and allow them to be more productive on other plant-related tasks, with a focus on the primary objective of maximum productivity.
  6. A saving on fuel costs: A clean, easily accessible plant can also provide site operatives with a direct route to specific areas of the plant when using items of machinery such as loading shovels, which could mean a reduction in fuel consumption.
  7. Enhancement of company reputation through corporate social responsibility: Adequate maintenance and site housekeeping practices could potentially help a company to retain current customers and attract new ones.

The maintenance of equipment should not be undertaken on a ‘one-off’ basis; this should be a daily, ongoing part of any quarry or site operation. In most cases, maintenance work can done by employees on site provided that they are adequately trained, but some work may require the expertise of plant providers for more technical maintenance schedules.

Furthermore, maintaining site cleanliness and a general programme of maintenance will actively reduce the chances of dirt or debris entering the plant and will ensure that, as far as possible, maximum uptime is maintained at all times.   

The creation of a housekeeping checklist can assist in maintaining a clean and effective site.

Moreover, improvement in health and safety is most effectively achieved when this ethos becomes totally integrated into everything that a business does, so employees should be educated that it is necessary to ‘tidy as you go’.

In addition, preventative maintenance measures can boost the efficiency of day-to-day operations and increase the overall readiness of a plant in case of unexpected processing requirements, allowing the operator to meet and exceed the demands and expectations of customers and provide a quality service. Not only does regular maintenance improve plant performance, maintenance includes, and is not limited to, adjustments, cleaning, lubrication and the replacement of parts.

Likewise, regular plant inspections will identify any areas for enhancement that might not otherwise have been identified and very often these can be easily rectified by having a competent service engineer on site.

In summary, by regularly maintaining a clean site and plant operation, not only will production be maximized, but a safe working environment will also be provided, both of which can, in the long term, deliver significant cost savings.

 

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