- Why should I carry out maintenance
- How often should I carry out maintenance?
- What type of maintenance do I need to carry out?
- How can I manage maintenance within my company?
- Who should carry out maintenance?
- What about reporting faults?
- Do I need to have lock-out procedures in place for maintenance?
- What about hired work equipment?
- Do I need to keep maintenance records?
- What work equipment do I need to have inspected or tested?
- What maintenance should I carry out on my vehicles?
It is important that any work equipment you provide for your employees is kept in good working order so that it is safe for them to use. Carrying out regular maintenance will prevent work equipment from becoming defective and putting your workers in danger.
How often should I carry out maintenance?
You should check and maintained your work equipment regularly to make sure that any safety related features are working properly. How frequently you carry out maintenance on your work equipment will depend on how often it is used, the type of work it is used for, the conditions in which it is used and the risk to the health and safety of your employees if it were to fail. A good starting point would be to refer to any manufacturers recommendations which apply to the equipment, such as periodic lubrication, adjustment or replacement of parts and to make sure that these recommendations are followed.
What type of maintenance do I need to carry out?
This will depend on the type of work equipment you provide for your employees. For basic equipment such as hand tools, simple checks will probably be sufficient while more detailed maintenance programmes will be required for complex machinery. When thinking about what type of maintenance to carry out you should focus on the parts of the work equipment that could cause harm if they failed or deteriorated. Your risk assessment should help you to decide what maintenance is required.
How can I manage maintenance within my company?
There are a number of maintenance techniques that you can use to help you manage the maintenance of your work equipment.
Planned preventative maintenance involves replacing parts and making adjustments at regular intervals to prevent your work equipment from deteriorating or failing and putting people at risk.
Condition based maintenance involves keeping a check on the condition of the parts of the equipment which would create a hazard if they deteriorated or failed and replacing them when necessary.
Breakdown maintenance is carried out only when faults or failures have occurred and is only appropriate where the fault or failure does not result in people being put at risk.
You should use your risk assessment to help you decide which maintenance technique or combination of techniques would be most suitable for your company.
Who should carry out maintenance?
Maintenance should always be carried out by a competent person. Much of the routine maintenance and checks can be carried out by your employees themselves, but they should be competent to do this work and have received adequate information, instruction and training. For routine checks it is useful to provide checklists for your employees. These should be signed and dated by the person carrying out the checks.
What about reporting faults?
You should have a system in place to make sure that any faults are reported to a designated person as soon as they occur so that the necessary maintenance can be carried out. If an equipment fault results in people being put at risk then that piece of equipment should be taken out of use immediately and not used again until it has received the necessary maintenance and has been restored to a safe working condition.
Do I need to have lock-out procedures in place for maintenance?
If your employees work with industrial equipment you should have effective lock out procedures in place. Many serious accidents and deaths have occurred as a result of maintenance work being carried out to industrial equipment which had not been properly isolated and locked out. The purpose of a lock-out is to prevent injuries caused by a machine starting up or moving whilst it is being maintained, adjusted, repaired or cleaned. Click here to download further information on lock-out procedures
What about hired work equipment?
If you hire work equipment, it is important to establish who will be responsible for carrying out the safety-related maintenance. You may be asked by the owner of the equipment to carry out the simple checks and minor adjustments. Make sure that the terms of the hire agreement sets out clearly ‘who is responsible for what’.
Do I need to keep maintenance records?
You are not required by law to keep a maintenance log, but it is recommended that you should do so if you use high risk work equipment. A maintenance log can provide useful information on previous work that has been carried out and will help you to plan future maintenance. If you do keep a maintenance log it should be kept up to date.
What work equipment do I need to have inspected or tested?
Certain items such as lifting equipment are required by law to be inspected and tested at regular intervals.
What maintenance should I carry out on my vehicles?
Employers are required by law to make sure that any work vehicles are kept in good working order.
It is important that vehicles are maintained so that they remain mechanically sound.
You should consider how to make sure that vehicles are kept in good order. Inspections could range from basic safety checks by drivers before using the vehicle (checking that the tyres are properly inflated, etc.), to regular maintenance inspections carried out based on time or mileage.
Employers may find it helpful to provide drivers with a list of daily checks for their vehicles, for them to sign off.
Download a useful forklift truck operator checklist (186kb)
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