The importance of engineering inspection and maintenance

Safety first:

Occasionally a dramatic news headline may grab our attention: "Coffee boiler explodes" or "Brake failure sends lift plummeting", for example. Such incidents, although thankfully rare, temporarily remind us that, when equipment fails, the consequences can be severe. Each day we come into contact with a wide range of equipment which requires regular inspection and maintenance to ensure its ongoing safety and suitability for the job intended. Consumer units and smoke detectors are common examples, but there are many more found both in home environments and in the public domain, including electrical equipment and switchgear.

Much like a car going in for its service and MOT, electrical equipment also needs regular checks to reveal and subsequently fix defects and wear and tear.

The inspection of an item is an activity carried out to identify any faults and defects before they present an unacceptable risk. It does not replace maintenance, which rather relates to necessary fixes and repairs which must be undertaken to bring a piece of machinery or kit back into full working order. As homeowner or duty holder, you may come under ever increasing pressure to evaluate the value of spend on such activity, it might be tempting to look to cut costs in the area of inspection and maintenance. This is not only a false economy, but also a risky strategy, with potentially devastating consequences.

Why is it needed?

Failing to carry out both inspection and maintenance activities can lead to a catastrophic outcome for an organisation for a number of reasons.

It’s vital that any inspection is carried out by a ‘competent person’; someone who has the necessary training, skills and experience to assess the equipment or machinery in question. They are able to recognise the implications of any defects identified and will know the actions to take. If a severe defect is identified, it could involve immediate removal of the relevant equipment from use. More information can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.

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