Your maintenance risk assessment checklist

Your maintenance risk assessment checklist

How to plan and execute equipment maintenance safely

Maintenance is one of the most dangerous activities in the workplace. So much so that it is estimated that as many as 20% of all workplace injuries occur during maintenance. Yet, without maintenance, your workplace would be a much more dangerous place for employees and visitors, and you will be failing your health and safety obligations.

This maintenance risk assessment checklist will help your company keep its maintenance staff and others safe during maintenance work.

Why is maintenance work so dangerous?

Maintenance work is part of a good health and safety regime, but creates its own health and safety issues for three specific reasons:

  1. Maintenance is often undertaken at height, in confined spaces, with electricity, and on dangerous equipment – all factors that are among the most common and dangerous hazards in the workplace
  2. Risk assessments before maintenance work are undertaken are often neglected
  3. Maintenance is often undertaken by contractors who have little knowledge of the workplace in which they are working

These factors multiply risk during maintenance work, whether routine (inspection, servicing, repair, testing) or emergency (inspection, repair, testing) maintenance.

Regulations that govern a maintenance risk assessment checklist

When considering a maintenance risk assessment checklist, it is important to consider which laws apply. In the main, these are:

  • The Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which dictate that employers must keep equipment is a state of good repair and working order
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, which state that equipment must be maintained in an efficient state, in an efficient working order, and in good repair
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which require an employer to do a suitable risk assessment, also applies to any maintenance work.

When contractors undertake maintenance work, both the business and the contractor are responsible for making sure that maintenance is undertaken safely. As an employer, you should ensure that the premises are safe for the contractor to work in, and that your own employees are safe during maintenance work.

Risks to consider before maintenance work begins

Maintenance work is specific and unique. Therefore, the actual risk assessment undertaken is likely to be different in each case. However, there is a list of specific issues that are likely to be faced in all maintenance work:

Working at height

– on ladders, above ground level, on windows or roofs, etc.

Access problems

– access into and out of the building may be restricted, or work may be required in confined spaces

Exposure to hazardous materials

– such as toxic chemicals (cleaning fluids and others) or asbestos (often unmarked)

– biological substances such as Legionella

Excessive noise

– maintenance work may be needed in noisy factories, or affect workers when hammering and drilling

Equipment risks

– for example, caused by connection to electricity supply

– poor guarding on machinery

Handling and posture

– maintenance work often involves handling work and/or working in difficult positions and repetitive bending and kneeling; this can cause musculoskeletal problems

The five rules for safe maintenance

When working through maintenance risk assessments, planning, and executing maintenance, there are five rules to ensure risks are minimised and maintenance can be undertaken safely:

1.      Planning

Carry out a maintenance risk assessment; assess the scope of the maintenance; identify hazards and the measures to mitigate risks; decide who is needed for maintenance to be carried out; identify other resources needed; keep employees involved.

2.      Make the work area safe

Implement the procedures developed in the planning stage, including providing any training needed.

3.      Use appropriate equipment

Maintenance workers will need appropriate tools and equipment, including any PPE needed to help protect against risks.

4.      Work as planned

Working practices that have been developed for maintenance work to be carried out safely must be followed.

5.      Make final checks

Check that the maintenance has been completed and that the equipment is in a safe and operable condition. Only then can the maintenance be signed off, and a report completed for management.

Keep your maintenance workers and others safe when routine or emergency maintenance work is needed, and stay on the right side of health and safety laws. Contact Sentry today and discover the online intelligent system that will help your business remain health and safety compliant with minimum effort.

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