Many tasks essential to proper maintenance of service equipment require de-energization. To perform those tasks, you must schedule an outage. Unfortunately, production departments can agree to only a limited outage window. Consequently, the work proceeds on a compressed schedule.

Don't underestimate the amount of this compression when planning the outage. Overly-optimistic job estimates combined with scope creep can easily result in too many tasks being attempted in too little time. People take dangerous shortcuts in response to the pressure.

For example, you can “save time” by eliminating a step or two in the tool count. A “100%” approach to the tool count takes time. But it provides a sure way to prevent energizing a bus bar that’s shorted to ground by a forgotten wrench.

The solution to the time crunch isn’t eliminating safety measures (e.g., tool count steps) or “working faster.” Furthermore, simply throwing more people at a job can actually slow progress.

So what’s the solution? Plan realistically what can be done within the limited time available, allowing for contingencies and cleanup.

To know what can realistically be done, conduct dry runs and walk-throughs. Bonus: These help you identify and address such issues as lighting, ventilation, temporary power, housekeeping, and safety problems ahead of time rather than during the outage window.