Maintenance and Reliability: Human Error and Equipment Failures

Maintenance and Reliability typically focuses on the maintenance strategies aligned to each of the critical assets in a facility. Facilities are implementing monitoring strategies to track vibration and other anomalies and use trending data as a prevention tool.

However, one of those most overlooked assets within a facility is the human element. While the percentages vary by industry, it’s accepted that 80% of all defects are caused by humans. This could include improper:

  • Installation
  • Assembly
  • Disassembly
  • Torquing
  • Lubrication

A focus on precision maintenance is key to any organization’s reliability and ability to increase the mean time between failures. Here is a look into our five-part solution:


  • The Workforce Mechanical Knowledge and Skill Requirement survey identifies approximately 180 mechanical/electrical skills within 22 separate mechanical/electrical competencies.
  • Customized Knowledge Assessments based on our test bank measure the knowledge required to perform various maintenance tasks.
  • Skill Performance Measures (SPMs) based on our baseline SPMs measure individual performance on these maintenance tasks.
  • Identification of Equipment Criticality and Defect Elimination helps to prioritize the gaps identified in the assessment to show return on investment.
  • Individualized Development Plans are written to close gaps and address the deficiencies identified using your curriculum or leveraging our instructor-led/hands-on craft skills courseware, GPiLEARN+ online courseware, industrial-level equipment trainers, and safety courseware.

Do you have recurring defects where the root cause is improper maintenance practices?

Training personnel on standardized precision maintenance can save companies thousands of dollars a year, whether it’s on proper torquing techniques or precision coupling and shaft alignment.  These are just a few areas that can lead to improvement in up-time and keep reliability equipment running to specification.

Doug Robey

Doug Robey

J. Douglas Robey is Vice President of Maintenance Training & Reliability at GP Strategies.With over 20 years of experience in adult learning and maintenance training consulting, Mr. Robey oversees the strategic approaches and successful launch of performance improvement projects, services and sales in multiple market sectors, including Energy, Manufacturing, Electronics/Semiconductor,Steel, Oil & Gas Process and others.

Mr. Robey is an active member of the Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP), and holds the CMRP certification through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).Along with the CMRP certification, Mr. Robey holds the Certified Reliability Leader (CRL) certification through the Association of Asset Management Professionals (AMP).

Prior to joining GP Strategies in 1996, Mr. Robey served in the United States Navy for 12 years as a lead Sonar Technician and Maintenance Materials Manager in the US Navy’s Surface force. He works from the GP Strategies Tampa, Florida office.
Doug Robey
2 comments on “Maintenance and Reliability: Human Error and Equipment Failures
  1. Joseph Burke says:

    I work in a manufacturing plant were I’m establishing the definition of a breakdown, we use SAP_PM software when all malfunction data is entered and the breakdown box is checked SAP will calculate the MMTR & MTBR.

    Here is what I’ve established as the definition of a breakdown: An “Unplanned Part Change”.
    I’m being challenged that if the failure of a component is due to human error than it should be factored out of the MTTR & MTBR. I disagree with this, as long as we know from the data that the failure is due to human error. I trying to find documentation for when and if the human error that caused the failure should it still be a breakdown based on my definition of “Unplanned Part” or will that taint the data.

  2. Douglas Robey says:

    SEMI E10 provides good information and explanations related to relevant and non relevant interrupts for MTTR and MTBF. Human error is a non relevant interrupt that should be measured in both metrics.

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