Exercise Caution When Performing Equipment Repairs
When systems at work fail, it’s a headache. No one likes to deal with broken equipment or watch production come to a halt. It takes time and often a lot of money to fix these problems. Additionally, it puts people at risk for injury, both those working in the area of the broken equipment and those who will be performing the necessary repairs. The resulting expenses of these accidents take hefty toll on a business.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the most common accidents and fatalities linked to maintenance are: falls, confined space injuries, electrical shocks and burns, caught-by injuries, musculoskeletal problems, and exposure to toxic vapors, asbestos, chemicals, dust, and excessive noise. No matter what type of maintenance is being performed, precautions must be made to ensure safety. Skipping these steps is dangerous for workers and the jobsite.
- Maintenance procedures must be developed for all equipment, and should follow manufacturer recommendations.
- Maintenance activities should be planned, even emergency repairs.
- Maintenance workers must be trained on the equipment they’re working on.
- Maintenance workers must be properly protected with safety equipment, including gloves, eye protection, and hard hats.
- All sources of electrical power to the equipment being maintained must be disconnected and tagged “OFF” to ensure the power is not turned on while work is being completed. The machine under repair must also be isolated from all others on the same system, and a proper lockout/tagout device must be employed. Failure to do so can result in electric shock, electrocution, fire, or explosions.
- Hydraulic pressure is released and equipment is in a relaxed position.
- Any safety devices (machine guards, shields, etc.) removed during maintenance must be reinstalled before maintenance is complete.
- Before the machine is put back into service, repair work should be inspected by a supervisor familiar with the equipment. This will ensure the maintenance is complete and the equipment has been properly reassembled.