I would choose option 3: To shut down the Boiler and immediately investigate the boiler. This is because, first, losses in productivity cannot balance out the loss of human life or critical injury. Parts of the fan may become violently dislodged and seriously injure any bystanders. In addition, overheated bearings may result in ignition of any leaking oils or fuels (Rayaprolu 401). This may result in an explosion of the boiler or fire, which may not only lead to loss of expensive plant and machinery but also human lives. According to the OSHB (42), a fire outbreak occurred in 1984 in Hong Kong when fuel drops from the nozzle of the burner, reached the fan motor and were ignited by the hot bearing. This resulted in extensive damage to electrical equipment at the plant. The recommendations made for this case was that the boiler and its auxiliary equipment ought to be maintained properly at all times. Secondly, continued operation of the fan may result in further damage to it (Rayaprolu 401). This may render the fan irreparable, leading to loss of equipment. In addition, it may also cause longer delays while the bigger problem of replacing the draft fan is resolved. This would be an outcome that is worse than any of the other available options because in the long-run, it would cause longer periods of zero productivity which the other options (1 and 2) and attempting to avoid. The third reason why the boiler should be shut down immediately is that the Maintenance Manager has already recommended it. Based on technical experience, the Maintenance Manager is in the best position to diagnose the problem and predict future outcomes.
The other options, while also viable, are not better than option 3. There are pros and cons to each of the three available alternatives, which must be evaluated to create the context necessary to pick one of them. First, option 1 (To continue operation while monitoring the vibration and bearing) may be favorable in the sense that it may ensure that the generation of electricity continues for a longer time. It would also keep the Senior Management happy because their wish to have continued operation and electricity generation would be fulfilled. The Plant would also have a chance of making the monthly requirements for electricity generation. The negative side of picking option 1 (Cons) are that first, it is not possible to tell how long the fan would operate without breaking down. The problem with this is that it may happen unexpectedly and there is no guarantee that it will last the three days of the month remaining. Secondly, accidents may happen with the continued use of the fan. Possible accidents include fire caused by ignition of fuel and accidents caused by dislodged parts.
For the option 2 (Reducing the boiler operation level to reduce vibration and bearing temperature), the advantage is that the risk of accidents is reduced. It is also correct to say that the fan life may be extended for duration of time that id longer than that of option 1. In addition, the production of electricity will not be halted and this will lead to a level of contribution closer to the target. The disadvantage is that the risk of an accident still exists and that in the long-run, this will lead to reduced electricity generation. In addition, there is extended fan damage.
Option 3 is better than option 1 and 2 because, as detailed in the first paragraph, its advantage is that it avoids accidental injury, fire or loss of equipment; prevents further damage to the fan and that in the long run, it will have saved more hours of production than option 1 and 2. The disadvantage may be failure to meet production targets.
OHSB. "Brief Accident Cases of Boilers and Pressure Vessels in Hong Kong ." Occupational Health and Safety Board 3.2 (2008): 1-20. Print.
Rayaprolu, Kumar. Boilers: a practical reference. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 2013. Print.