Lifting equipment is an important asset, and like most assets, it pays to maintain it so it stays in working condition. Regular maintenance is a safety requirement that prevents a range of things from equipment failure resulting in downtime, extra costs for unexpected repairs and most importantly risk of injury to workers. The most important types of maintenance to your lifting and rigging assets include predictive, preventative and planned.
Predictive maintenance is when you are monitoring the performance and condition of equipment during normal operation, this is done to reduce the likelihood of a failure. It can also improve quality, productivity and profitability by discovering any potential issues before they occur and resolving them. Predictive maintenance can result in lower maintenance costs as it can eliminate the needs to stop production whilst the equipment is being repaired. It can also extend the life of the equipment by preventing damage occurring as well as reduce downtime, improve production and improve operator safety by addressing problems before they result in failure.
Preventative maintenance is when equipment is checked for potential defects that may evolve into equipment failures. The maintenance is performed while the equipment is still working lessening the likelihood that is will break unexpectedly and is an important part of facilities management. A successful preventative maintenance program will establish consistent practices to improve performance, safety and productivity. Regular preventative maintenance will decrease downtime and reduce the likelihood of major repairs and can include scheduled inspections, tests, servicing, replacements and repairs. By lubricating, cleaning and making small adjustments to any minor defects you can prolong the life of your lifting the equipment and prevent equipment failure.
Planned Maintenance (Legislative Requirement)
Planned maintenance includes both predictive and preventative maintenance but requires equipment downtime to allow inspectors to access all components of the equipment rather than only those visible.
These activities are normally planned on an annual basis. They are documented and scheduled and although they require downtime, qualified technicians come prepared with resources on hand. Potential defects that are found during planned maintenance can be repaired, parts can be reconditioned or replaced and new parts can be installed.
Benefits of Effective Maintenance
There are three main benefits to regular maintenance by a qualified person, these include:
- Safety – you can catch repair work early, eliminating a failure or safety hazard.
- Time – prevent equipment from failure means it keeps running, having to decommission equipment because of a failure costs not only time but money.
- Money – you can budget your maintenance costs in advance as well as save on large expensive repairs that can occur in the future. Your equipment will stay operational longer, which means you won’t have to outlay money on replacement equipment.
Trying to manage a large inventory of lifting equipment can be challenging, especially when it comes time to service and ensure compliance. Poorly managed records not only increase your risk of incident or workplace injury, you could also fail to meet the requirements within Australian Standards and Workplace Health and Safety Regulations.
Most lifting equipment companies can assist in managing your assets across multiple sites and locations within your organisation to ensure your lifting equipment maintains compliance and help you manage, track and locate your equipment whilst also providing quick access to status, inspection and servicing reports, certificates and information.
The MTA works with a number employers and workers to manage their WHS systems. If you need any advice or assistance in managing your lifting equipment please contact the MTA’s Workplace Relations team by clicking here or by calling 8291 2000.