Safety of workplace machinery, equipment and tools

Equipment maintenance and checks for safety


A maintenance schedule should be in place to ensure that you maintain your equipment regularly. You should check equipment as often as suggested by the manufacturer or more often if indicated by the risk assessment. Any daily checks should be undertaken as recommended by the manufacturer. This will help prevent problems such as blockages, leaks or breakdowns, which can increase risks.

You'll also need to maintain safety devices around the equipment such as guards, alarms, safety cages and warning signs.

The duty to maintain work equipment and take measures to manage the risks from maintenance (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations) builds on the general duties of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which requires work equipment to be maintained so that it is safe, and work to be undertaken safely, so far as reasonably practicable.

If you use heat-producing equipment you should regularly check the environment around it. You must keep floors clear. There must be adequate ventilation at all times. You also need to remove all combustible materials from the area and regularly maintain and check fire detectors.

Equipment checks required by law

Some types of equipment - require examinations by law in addition to normal repair and servicing. This is known as thorough examinations by a competent person, Examples include gas appliances, lifting equipment, pressure systems and power presses. You need to keep the certificates and records of such checks, detailing the findings and any repair work.

See appoint a competent person for health and safety.

How to check equipment safely

If any equipment is to be checked or repaired, it should always be turned off and isolated so no one can start it in error.

Most equipment now comes with guidelines for maintenance. This includes advice on how to carry out equipment checks safely.

Many businesses use documented procedures for maintenance and repair work, such as a permit to work scheme. You can also use warning signs to remind workers that equipment is temporarily out of use. You could also user a lock out system. This means the person doing the maintenance work has a key that prevents the equipment starting up while they work on it.

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