How often should we maintain equipment - Healthy Working Lives

Maintenance of equipment

Maintenance of equipment or facilities are inspected, maintained and protected before break down or other problems occur.

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

You need to carry out maintenance to ensure the workplace structures, equipment, machines, furniture and facilities are in good working order and operate properly and safely.

The lack of adequate 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 a 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 ensure your equipment needs to be maintained.

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

Thorough examinations and inspections of lifting equipment are explained in the Lifting operations and Lifting equipment regulations 1998.

Inspections should be carried out by a competent person with experience of the equipment, who is usually independent and is often an 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 it 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, which must be examined every six months.

In addition, it is important that the person receiving inspection and maintenance reports from lift inspectors understands their contents and importance and that a clear procedure is in place to take equipment out of use immediately if this is 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 explains that if you have introduced a local exhaust ventilation system to reduce the risks to exposure to hazardous substances.

You need to ensure that it’s maintained in good working order, in order to achieve this you need to provide thorough examinations of the equipment.

Examination of the equipment should be carried out by a competent person at least every 14 months.

Find out more about COSHH

Pressure systems

The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 (external site) explains that a competent person needs to decide on the frequency and extent of the examinations of pressure systems. The written scheme of examination needs to be in place before the system is used.

Record keeping

You should keep a record of the maintenance and inspections that you have been carrying out. This is very important and it will help you ensure that you complying with legislation.

Use our equipment inspection record form