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Maintenance of equipment

Facilities should be inspected and equipment maintained and protected before a breakdown or other problems occur.

Understand your responsibilities for keeping work equipment in good working order, how often you need to maintain it and where you can keep a record.

You need to carry out maintenance to ensure the workplace structure, equipment, machinery, fixtures and fittings and facilities are in good working order.

Inadequate maintenance can lead to dangerous situations, accidents and health problems.

It includes many tasks such as

  • repairing
  • replacing
  • servicing
  • inspecting
  • testing.

There are two main types of maintenance work.

Routine or preventative maintenance

Is planned and includes scheduled inspections, repairs and replacement to make sure everything continues to work.

Corrective maintenance

Is needed when things go wrong or breakdowns occur. This demands reactive, unplanned action to be taken to get things up and running again.

  1. Planning maintenance of equipment
  2. How often should we maintain equipment
  3. Maintenance legislation

2. How often should we maintain equipment

Your risk assessment will help you decide how often you need to maintain your equipment.

This will depend on different elements such as the nature of the equipment, the environment where it’s used or how often. Manufacturers will also advise on how often their equipment needs to be used.

Health and safety legislation and guidance will also determine how often equipment needs to be inspected.

Regulations dealing with lifting equipment, local exhaust ventilation and pressure systems give explicit detail about their inspection regime.

Lifting equipment

Inspections should be carried out by a competent person with experience of the equipment.  They are usually independent and often the employee of an insurer.

The risks associated with the failure of the equipment will determine the extent of the examination.

The competent person who draws up the inspection schedule usually recommends how often inspections should be carried out.

Equipment should receive an initial thorough examination, which is usually carried out by the manufacturer or supplier prior to supply.

Subsequent thorough examinations should be carried out annually, except for equipment used to lift persons.  This must be examined every six months.

The person who receives inspection and maintenance reports from lift inspectors needs to understand their contents and importance. A clear procedure must also be in place to take equipment out of use immediately if required.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have more information on lifting equipment.

Visit the HSE site for more on lifting equipment

Local exhaust ventilation

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002 explain that if you have introduced a local exhaust ventilation system to reduce the risks of exposure to hazardous substances

  • you need to ensure the local exhaust ventilation system is maintained in good working order by arranging for a competent person to undertake a thorough examination
  • a competent person is required to carry out a thorough examination of the system at least every 14 months.
Find out more about COSHH

Pressure systems

The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 specify that a competent person needs to decide on the frequency and extent of examinations of pressure systems.  This is known as a written scheme of examination, which needs to be in place before the system is used.

Visit the HSE site for more information on pressure systems

Record keeping

You should keep a record of the maintenance and inspections you have carried out. This is very important and will help ensure you comply with legislation.

Use our equipment inspection record form