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A Closer Look At The Health & Safety At Work Act – Maintenance

Health & Safety At Work Act – Maintenance

Under section 2 of the Health And Safety At Work Act 1974, employers have a general duty to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work. These duties were expanded upon by the Workplace (health, safety and welfare) Regulations 1992, and in terms of planned maintenance activities there are further regulations specific to what an employer must do to safeguard its employees.

What does legislation apply to in terms of maintenance?

In general terms, planned maintenance contributes towards an employer’s obligations in ensuring that certain equipment, devices and systems are maintained in safe and efficient working order. To satisfy this general legislation maintenance is required on:

  • Mechanical ventilation systems
  • Equipment and devices which would cause a risk to health, safety or welfare if a fault occurred
  • Equipment and devices intended to prevent or reduce hazards

Maintenance requirements for an employer also extend to the fabric and infrastructure of a building and premises. So the condition of premises needs to be monitored to ensure it has sufficient stability and solidity for use and maintenance systems must cover risks that impact upon the normal running of the work processes, such as vibration, exposure to materials and floor loadings, and also foreseeable risks, such as fire and security systems.

A planned maintenance programme is designed to keep systems running in a cost-effective manner and to guard against unscheduled breakdowns. This helps a business plan and budget and also ensures maximum efficiency and an optimal lifespan for the equipment in question. However, health and safety is integral to all of this and specific legislation exists which ensures that planned maintenance, in carrying out all the above, also address fundamental health and safety requirements.

Maintenance of work equipment

The PUWER (Provision and use of work equipment regulations) regulations 1992 require that an employer must maintain all work equipment in an efficient state, in efficient order and in good repair. This includes keeping records of maintenance carried out and ensuring the safety of maintenance personnel who are undertaking such tasks.

Risk assessments help to determine the nature and frequency of planned maintenance, but an effective planned maintenance system should satisfy both the PUWER regs and other health and safety legislation, plus the business objectives in terms of productivity and even environmental impact.

When designing a maintenance programme to satisfy the PUWER regs, you should consider factors such as:

  • Manufacturers recommendations
  • How frequently and intensely equipment is used
  • The operating environment
  • User knowledge and experience
  • Health and Safety implications where breakdown or malfunction could occur

The best way to satisfy maintenance legislation

In carrying out maintenance tasks, an employer should also ensure that maintenance personnel are qualified, fully briefed on workplace procedures, layout and arrangements and are provided with permits, PPE, isolation procedures and all the correct equipment.

Many businesses contract out maintenance programmes to third party organisations, who can be specialist contractors, but must be qualified and fully informed as above. At Robinsons Facilities Services, we are a leading contractor specialising in maintenance and repairs in Yorkshire. In terms of ensuring an employer is complying with the Health & Safety At Work Act and all related legislation, employing a qualified third party is the best way to ensure all procedures are followed, control measures are adhered to and maintenance practices comply with the law and satisfy all the requirements of the business.

For more information, please contact us.

 

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