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
There are two main types of maintenance work.
Is planned and includes scheduled inspections, repairs and replacement to make sure everything continues to work.
Is needed when things go wrong or breakdowns occur. This demands reactive, unplanned action to be taken to get things up and running again.
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 complete a risk assessment before carrying out the task and involve your employees in the process.
Creating a list of premises, plant and equipment that need to be maintained (and how often) will help plan and risk assess 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 the risks to your employees’ health and safety.
Find out more about risk assessment
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 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 they have also completed a risk assessment of their tasks. Check you communicate and coordinate with them to ensure the maintenance tasks can be completed without risk.
It is important all employees involved in carrying out maintenance work and those who will be working around them are competent and have received training.
You need to ensure 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 they have been informed of any safe system of work or safety procedure that needs to be followed.
Find out more about instruction and training
You should use method statements and permits to work to ensure high risk activities are planned and carried out according to procedures.
This will help identify
When carrying out work the area needs to be secured to prevent unauthorised access. It’s important you consider how to restrict access to the equipment and area being maintained.
You can attach warning cards to the machinery so people don’t use them. However, it’s very important any machinery undergoing maintenance is isolated and locked off if there is a risk of it being restarted before maintenance is complete.
Find out more about permits to work
For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, contact your local health board team