Planning maintenance of equipment - Healthy Working Lives

Maintenance of equipment

Facilities should be inspected and equipment 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

1. Planning maintenance of equipment

Maintenance tasks should be planned and risk assessed. These tasks can be outside of routine tasks and may expose employees and others to hazardous situations.

You should carry out a risk assessment before carrying out the task and you should involve your employees in the process.

Creating a list of premises, plant and equipment that need to be maintained (and how often) will help you planning and risk assessing the work.

There are many hazards associated with maintenance work. It’s important that you identify risks through the risk assessment process. These are some of the hazards that you might identify.

Once you have identified the hazards you need to evaluate and estimate the risks, then decide if you are doing enough to manage risks to your employee's health and safety.

Find out more about risk assessment

Training to carry out maintenance safely

Who is at risk

Those who carry out maintenance work are especially at risk, but others can also be affected if they are working near the item or the area that is being maintained.

Contractors brought in to carry out maintenance work can be particularly at risk as they may be unfamiliar with the workplace and procedures in place.

When using contractors you need to ensure that they have also completed a risk assessment of their tasks. Be sure that you communicate and coordinate with them to ensure that the maintenance tasks can be completed without risks.

Find out more about contractors

Training

It is important that all employees involved in carrying out maintenance work and those who will be working around them are competent and have received

You need to ensure that those carrying out maintenance have the skills and experience to carry out the tasks.

This includes your own employees and any contractors or specialists you use to carry out the maintenance.

It’s very important that they have been informed of any safe systems of work or safety procedure that needs to be followed.

Find out more about instruction and training

Safe systems of work

You should use method statements and permit to work to ensure that high risk activities are planned and carried out following procedures.

This will help identify

  • key roles and responsibilities
  • ways of communicating
  • key steps to follow
  • regular checks
  • monitoring procedures
  • emergency procedures.

While carrying out the work the area needs to be secured by preventing unauthorised access, it’s important that you consider how to restrict access to the equipment and are being maintained.

You can attach warning cards to the machinery so people don’t use them, however, it’s very important that any machinery undergoing maintenance is isolated and locked off if there is a risk of the item being restarted before maintenance is complete.

Find out more about permits to work