Being safe, compliant and getting the most out of your equipment.
Regular maintenance of work at height equipment is an important and necessary activity. Effective maintenance management helps your money go further by reducing repair costs, extending the life of your equipment whilst boosting overall performance. Planned maintenance will keep you safe and compliant whilst servicing will minimise repair costs and it’s also associated with increased safety in the work environment and productivity by reducing downtime.
At HLS we have years of experience delivering planned maintenance, servicing and repairing our customers' work at height equipment in manufacturing, retail, public health and facilities management sectors.
Throughout the past few months we have continued to safely provide key services to our customers, some of which are based at sites of national strategic importance. This has enabled them to stay safe, compliant and productive.
We are proud to have adapted to safely provide regular repairs and planned maintenance to work at height equipment at the ExCeL when it transferred over to The NHS Nightingale Hospital. We have also provided service visits to a new Facilities Management customer who is operating at a key biotech institution.
To help you to stay safe, compliant and get the most out of your equipment we have put some of the following tips and guidance together:
1.Ensure compliance with LOLER and PUWER through a planned maintenance schedule
Planned maintenance of equipment is essential for reducing the risks associated with working at height. Insufficient or inadequate maintenance can cause serious (and potentially deadly) accidents. A number of HSE fines and prosecutions highlight every year that falls from a height could be prevented by effective maintenance.
PUWER (the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) states that ‘all work equipment be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient order and in good repair.’ Machinery that has a maintenance log needs to be kept up to date and maintenance operations need to be carried out safely.
If your business or organisation undertakes lifting operations or is involved in providing lifting equipment for others to use, you must manage and control the risks to avoid any injury or damage. LOLER requires that lifting equipment must be of adequate strength and stability. This adds to the general obligations under PUWER regarding the suitability of work equipment.
Regulations state that mandatory inspections on MEWPs are due 6-monthly, and servicing should be in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a useful checklist for carrying out safe maintenance.
2. Effectively maintain and manage your equipment
It has been stated that the true costs of a machine breakdown has been estimated at between 4-15 times the machine cost? Regular machine maintenance will not only ensure optimum performance, keeping uptime high and will also help prevent costly repairs whilst extending the life of your equipment.
3. Know your equipment
Before using a piece of equipment, ensure you, and all other operators, know how it works and what it is for. Carry out a pre-use inspection as per your training and record it. You should also be aware of the age of the equipment, expected life span, warranty information and any known issues and fixes.
Training your operators to take care of equipment and look for minor damage or potential faults will also prevent costly repairs and prolong the life of your equipment. Because operators work directly with the equipment daily, they are in an ideal position to identify problems and report it. Make sure your operators assume responsibility for their equipment, are properly trained in making daily checks and care for their machines/equipment.
4. Replace parts when needed
With equipment that is being used regularly, some parts will wear and require replacing to keep it running to the best of its ability. It is best to change them ASAP, as this will often prevent damage or wear to other parts and equipment which could result in down-time.
Storage is important when it comes to looking after equipment, especially smaller pieces of equipment that can easily get lost or damaged. Designate a location or area for storage when not in use.
6. Repair and refurbish, rather than replace
When your equipment starts looking tired and perhaps not operating as it did when new, it is tempting to replace it. However, reconditioning or refurbishment can be a cost effective alternative to replacing it. There are many benefits to reconditioning or refurbishing equipment such as extending the life span, improving performance and saving the cost of replacing equipment.
Depending on the piece of equipment, this can include repairing damage, switching out any worn replaceable parts, a complete clean and repaint, and finally testing to ensure it is safe and compliant.
You will need to weigh up the costs of reconditioning and refurbishment carefully, although it can extend the life of your existing equipment, at the same time though, sometimes it doesn’t make economic sense. For example, instead of replacing an engine, it may be smarter to apply that money to a new machine with better technology that will last longer.
HLS offers a Planned Maintenance and Service Agreement for your convenience including a 25% discount when we inspect 2 or more items of equipment at the same site.
We can provide essential maintenance and mandatory LOLER examinations for our customer’s at their buildings/sites in accordance with social distancing and additional hygiene requirements required by COVID-19 risk control measures.
Expert Care When You Need It
If you need advice, please give us a call to discuss any work at height concerns you may have, remember our advice is free and we can help.