Maintenance is vital to any public facility if it is to operate in a safe and effective manner. Maintenance can be a costly element of facility operations in terms of dollars and impact on operations. Maintenance can also be a potential workplace safety issue if not properly addressed.
There are three common types of maintenance:
- emergency repairs when something breaks
- preventative maintenance, which is carried out on a piece of equipment at a certain interval and
- predictive maintenance, which is carried out when tests indicate that maintenance is needed.
Regardless of the type of maintenance, a number of important activities must take place if the maintenance is to be carried out in a safe manner:
- Equipment selected to have maintenance carried out must be isolated. This includes insuring that all sources of electrical power to the equipment are disconnected and tagged “OFF” (The power source should be tagged “OFF—UNIT UNDER REPAIR” with date and signature of person authorizing the procedure.) so someone does not turn the power on until work is completed. The equipment must also be isolated from the other equipment in the same system.
- Maintenance procedures must be developed for all equipment. These procedures should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and include all instructions, drawings and list of parts needed.
- Maintenance activities must be planned, even emergency repairs. The time it takes to plan a job, read the maintenance procedures and get the needed safety equipment will be made up in the safety of the job and the ease in completing the job. A little planning goes a long way in doing safe maintenance. To rush into an emergency repair is to invite disaster.
- Maintenance personnel must be trained on the equipment. The proper equipment must be used to safely carry out maintenance. Proper safety equipment such as gloves, eye protection, foot protection and hard hats should always be used.
- Any safety devices or shields removed during maintenance MUST be reinstalled on the equipment prior to completion of maintenance. Any shields and safety devices originally installed on a piece of equipment must not be left off to “make it easier to fix the next time.”
- Prior to returning the equipment to service, a supervisor who is familiar with the equipment and the maintenance, should check the equipment to insure that the maintenance is complete, the equipment is properly reassembled, all safety equipment and any tools used in the maintenance have been removed.
Have a plan for every maintenance activity. This plan should include the safety procedures for isolating the equipment, the equipment needed for the maintenance including safety equipment, identification of who will do the maintenance including qualification and identification of the supervisor to sign off when the job is finished and the equipment restored to “ready for operation” status. If the maintenance is carried out repeatedly, this plan can be reused. If it is an emergency or one-time repair, the plan should be made up before maintenance is started.
Have a procedure for filing manufacturer’s recommendations for maintaining and repairing each piece of equipment the entity owns. Include the name of the equipment, it’s serial number, date purchased, who it was purchased from, its location in the entity. This can be a paper file in a 3-ring notebook or en electronic file.
Manufacturer’s recommendations Use an Internet search engine, such as Google or Yahoo or Dog Pile to find the homepage of the manufacturer. Search for downloadable maintenance instructions or a phone number to call. Have the details of the device, serial number, model number before making contact.
Equipment Maintenance Issues Checklist