Asset Management December Management

Link HSE Data To Enterprise Asset Management

EP Editorial Staff | December 19, 2013


Health, safety and environmental data can be more accessible and useful when included in a plant’s EAM system.

By John Reeve

Why an EAM (enterprise asset management system) would be implemented without addressing personnel safety in terms of a safety culture, hazard analysis, risk management, change management and compliance reporting is perplexing. This health, safety and environmental (HSE) information can be tracked outside the EAM, but it makes more sense to include it there: EAM software already tracks asset performance/history and provides an integrated format where work originates, asset registries are stored, maintenance plans are documented and worker records are kept. 

Job safety and hazard analysis are equally important parts of work management. In the course of operating and maintaining equipment, personnel can encounter safety hazards that result in injury. Just as most operation and maintenance (O&M) organizations try to predict and prevent functional failures, they should emphasize job safety and hazard mitigation by trending past incidents to lower or prevent their occurrence. It makes sense to closely integrate or consolidate asset maintenance with HSE tracking (refer to Fig. 1).


Fig. 1. The five main steps in an HSE scenario

Not every operation and maintenance activity will have a related job-safety event. But when such activities do, the data should be captured and tracked. An investigative analysis may follow, especially in the case of personnel injury or equipment loss. When an improvement plan is identified, it should be preceded by an impact analysis (or management of change) before implementation. Additionally, the leadership team may establish specific actions that will need to be tracked.

The work-order process 

A typical work-order process includes: (1) work planning and hazard analysis, (2) work execution and (3) work-order feedback/closeout. The relationship of HSE data to this process is substantial. A maintenance backlog, for example, may contain safety-related work that is required to correct an existing safety issue. Work orders may also come with attached safety plans because most O&M organizations are very safety-conscious.

Once the job starts, however, anything can happen. The worker might get interrupted, or other hazards might be discovered. The job could turn out to be bigger than originally planned, or a supervisor might ask the worker to move faster. And when staff is hurried, unexpected events—such as accidents-—occur. These incidents must be reported, but the culture will dictate what gets reported: Will it be everything, including near-miss incidents, or only accidents that result in injury or lost work time? Moreover, management might have performance metrics tied to injuries that are, in turn, tied to bonuses. These issues must be considered if management is serious about creating and maintaining a strong safety culture.

The cost of a reactive environment

Unplanned events incur added costs, and can include a high level of emergency/urgent maintenance work. This type of work may have no planning and few safety instructions, which directly affects worker safety and job quality. Environments where a reactive approach is dominant can, therefore, induce worker frustration, which can be followed by a lack of trust. Reactive maintenance isn’t just bad for the asset: It’s also bad for the worker.


Fig. 2. Typical steps in a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) or a Job Hazard Analysis

One solution to this scenario is the Job Safety Analysis (JSA)—also called a Job Hazard Analysis (Fig. 2). This is a detailed document stored in the control room by most industries. Every maintenance worker should review the applicable JSA for each work package tied to the asset/system.

This ensures that, from the start of each work-day to the end, an emphasis on job safety is part of every work package—and both human and equipment assets are protected.

The data-relationship benefit

There is a natural relationship between asset management and HSE. For example, they share the same data-management components and resource codes. If an accident occurs on a job site, the equipment/location/area should already exist in the EAM system. If the workers involved were operations or maintenance, these resource codes would also reside in the EAM system, along with qualifications, certifications and requalification dates.

If a failure investigation is performed, the analysis might look at operational policy/procedure, training records, asset history, planning/scheduling, hazard identification, risk assessment and management-of-change (MOC) documents. With all this data inside a single EAM system, the HSE management team can more quickly link all pieces of the puzzle. Also, EAM/HSE system end-users have increased visibility to health and safety issues that could affect job safety. By having one integrated system, the ability of maintenance, operations and engineering to safely work together is greatly improved.

Getting past the existing system

It’s likely that any given organization will already have a system in place for managing HSE. Such a system might be paper-based, spreadsheet-based or built upon single-function software. There are drawbacks to each, as noted in Fig. 3.

Primarily a paper-based systemHSE department prefers to manage paper, and stores documents in file cabinets.

Despite paper supporters’ belief that documents are easier to manage in a file cabinet, electronic documents in EAM systems are far easier to manage and share.

Excel and AccessHSE department tracks and trends data using isolated spreadsheets.

Although flexible and familiar, these are not true relational databases with integration capabilities. Also, front-end screen entry capabilities may be missing, and reporting features may be limited to a single spreadsheet.

Spot SolutionsHSE department purchased a stand-alone software product intended to perform a specific function, such as environmental tracking or safety management.Stand-alone products are singularly focused with little ability to expand or integrate. Plus, they have an additional long-term cost due to licensing, upgrades and possible integration requirements. The benefit of an EAM product is a single point of entry and natural data relationships.

Fig. 3. Drawbacks associated with typical stand-alone, non-EAM-linked HSE-data management systems

There can be pain when changing any system and process, especially with old ones that have been in place for a long time. Still, there is usually a cost benefit in consolidating smaller systems into one standard product.

Apply ‘EAM thinking’ to HSE data

O&M managers often depend on the EAM system to track large volumes of information. Best-in-class organizations also use this system to predict and prevent. Here are several tips that can add efficiency to an integrated EAM/HSE system:

1. Set up automatically recurring PM activities to schedule annual safety/environmental training venues.

2. Set up automatically recurring audits and surveys; include a list of pre-built questions, and record attendee names.

3.Initiate the MOC review process inside the EAM. Create a Yes/No field on the main work-order screen titled, “MOC Review Required.” This would then electronically route to the HSE officer for assessment and tracking within the MOC application.

4.Track compliance and regulatory requirements inside the EAM system. Activate automatic notifications by setting up bulletins via email or EAM-system workflows pertaining to compliance reporting or other trends.

5.Create a library of definitions pertaining to HSE, such as “What is an incident versus an accident?”

6.Create a high-level list of HSE policy statements, such as “All incidents, accidents and near-misses shall be reported.”

7.Record operations’ shift-turnover logs in the EAM system so vital information is immediately available to all. Record all work-package turnover notes (for work not done at end of shift) in the work-order long description field. With rotating shifts, there is a risk that vital information pertaining to job status might not be turned over.

Capture work-order feedback as log entries, especially those involving safety- and hazard-mitigation suggestions. This creates a permanent record of suggestions, which can then be electronically routed for management review.

Track accident/incident events with text recommendations and provide code categorization of these events so the data can be grouped and trended to identify worst offenders. By managing by exception, the HSE officer might request additional safety training to address falls and trips.

Add a “Risk Assessment” field to the main work-order tracking field. This indicates the level of risk a maintenance activity involves. The choices could be (a) No Significant Risk, (b) Maintenance Observer Required, (c) HSE Dept. Representative Required On-Site. For example, if a heavy object is being lifted, the HSE Dept. Representative would ensure all safety instructions are followed and no one is in the path of a moving object.

Most EAM systems have powerful reporting engines, including the capability to download to Excel, ad-hoc reporting and KPI tracking. These features, along with the ability to easily search, select, sort, bookmark and save queries, provide an advantage when filtering data to be used by analytical reports.

The risk of data isolation 

When HSE data is purposely isolated from other core systems, cost and risk are added to the organization. Furthermore, if members of the HSE group infrequently logs onto the EAM system, they may depend solely on someone telling them—via email, phone or paper form—that a safety issue or hazard exists. Users may see this as two separate management systems and wonder why they are not integrated. 

Keep in mind, when managing heaps of paper, that there will always be risks. These can include missed deadlines, missed reports, missed HSE training and missed audits, as well as unclear references to job location or assets.

Bet on the EAM/HSE link to add value

The EAM/HSE single-database design is your best bet for the future. Software brand is not the issue. It comes down to a willingness to combine HSE and EAM data. Sometimes management may choose to isolate certain data for legal reasons—but this can still be stored in the EAM system with the added benefits of analytics, trending and referential integrity. O&M personnel want to access HSE data to help them do a better job (and do it safely). The workforce will see both functions as equal partners. MT 

John Reeve has spent 25+ years supporting CMMS/EAM users across a range of industries. He currently is a Manager and Senior Consultant with Cohesive Information Solutions. Email:




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