Posted in by .

I think we all understand mechanical integrity, and its importance to risk management. A loss of mechanical integrity will result in an incident, and the magnitude of the incident is based on the size and severity of the fluid that is released.

On the 24th of December 2016 I had a mechanical integrity incident. I had a crack in the callus on my left heel, which resulted in a strep/staph infection entering my leg. The severity of the incident … I was in hospital for 31 days.

Just like steel, our skin separates the process (the working mechanisms of our body) from the environment. Just like steel, we do not care what gets on the outside of our skin as long as our skin is not damaged or compromised. Damaged steel requires maintenance, and damaged skin requires maintenance.

For those of you that have had to respond to a loss of mechanical integrity incident, you know that you discover many things about the process, and you often take the opportunity to do other mini-maintenance projects. My infection was no different – and one of the most interesting mini-projects I did was lose 10 kg. I also quit coffee “cold turkey” (down from 6 cups per day to zero). How did I do it? Well … it is surprising how easy some things are when you are continuously hooked up to an intravenous drip. I honestly do not remember any caffeine withdrawal headaches at all.

So … some conclusions:

  • The principles of risk management and mechanical integrity management can be applied to people with little or no modification
  • Maintenance takes effort – until you reach the desired level of performance, maintenance takes more effort than you think
  • There is a cost associated with maintenance, and a cost associated with lack of maintenance – getting the balance right is very difficult (just ask any maintenance department)
  • (and the silly one) if you have a bad habit you want to break cold turkey, check into a hospital for one month and go on a drip.

By the way – I am doing well in my recovery. Still have a long ways to go but we will get there. With the exception of the need to medicate my leg, life is as close to normal as it can be.

Best of luck to you.