Sustaining life in hazardous environments...
Sustaining life in hazardous environments...

Planned Maintenance Programme - What Do You Need to Consider?

17th January 2017
Planned Maintenance Programme - What Do You Need to Consider?

It is vital that safety equipment of any kind is correctly maintained to ensure that when it is required, it functions in the right manner. To ensure it is in perfect working order every time, legislations and manufacturer recommendations are combined to give a schedule of how and when equipment should be serviced. However, for many companies with an increasing amount of equipment to maintain it can become a peripheral maintenance duty that does not take the same priority as the day to day business functions.

The simple solution to this issue is to have a planned maintenance programme for your safety equipment in a similar way that you would do for critical process machinery. There are two main options – either take the responsibility for this in-house or work with a specialist partner who can look after this for you. There are advantages and disadvantages of both options and in this post we will point out some of the key differences to help you in setting up a suitable plan for your own equipment.

Like with many business processes, taking planned maintenance of your safety equipment in-house brings flexibility and autonomy. It enables you to decide exactly what you will do and when. If managed very well it can bring cost savings as well – but be careful, many companies fall into the trap of adding this responsibility to an existing role, and time and time again we see where this responsibility has become secondary to the primary role and has left the business vulnerable. The main disadvantage of taking planned maintenance in-house is the very fact that the ‘more important’ day to day business will take precedence over the necessary safety equipment servicing. The other very big consideration is that whichever of your staff are given the responsibility for maintaining this equipment will require specific training to ensure that they check it correctly, and above all this they will need to be able to prove ongoing competence. It should also be considered that very detailed training and manufacturer's authorisation is required for certain types of servicing. This can be very difficult and expensive to obtain if you are the end user, and then you might end up in a situation where some checks are done in-house and certain servicing items are outsourced, which makes it all jumbled up.

Outsourcing, however, is not without its challenges and you need to carefully assess the partner that you will work with on this. Outsourcing planned maintenance of safety equipment can sometimes seem like an unnecessary expense but if you select a specialist partner who will work with you to achieve a well-planned maintenance programme, it can indeed save a lot of money. You will have a whole range of benefits open to you with the right partner. Hiring safety equipment whilst your own is undergoing repair mean that you do not need to have additional items on your fleet ‘just in case’. If well-qualified engineers are used, then not only will they be able to undertake the particular periodic check while they are onsite to care for your equipment, but they will be able to repair any damaged items there and then. You will also be able to access quickly and easily associated service such as training on the equipment for your staff, and a specialist partner will work with you to develop a complete solution around your safety equipment that removes this peripheral maintenance duty from you.

In conclusion, there is no right or wrong way to manage your equipment but there are certain considerations that you should keep in mind. To summarise the above here is a quick list of things you should definitely consider:

  • How much equipment do you have?
  • Can you justify making this a primary duty for one of your staff members?
  • How complex is your equipment to service and maintain?
  • Are you comfortable maintaining the necessary records and certifications for your equipment and are your staff who will be maintaining them appropriately trained?

A well-managed programme, whether it be in-house or outsourced will not only keep you compliant but make your safety equipment maintenance more cost effective and less time-consuming.

 

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