Q38. What are the key elements of a planned preventative maintenance system?

An effective and efficient planned preventative maintenance (PPM) system should include all of the following elements:

• Equipment inventory: All relevant equipment should be identified and referenced within the PPM system.

• Definition of maintenance tasks: Specific maintenance tasks required for the equipment as detailed within the manufacturer's specifications, including:

• Inspections.

• Adjustments.

• Testing.

• Calibration.

• Rebuild.

• Replacement.

• Frequency of internal maintenance tasks: The frequency of maintenance tasks carried out internally (including a reminder system for repetitive maintenance activates) depends on:

• Manufacturer's recommendations.

• Use of the component or equipment (equipment under heavy usage will be more prone to wear out).

• Criticality of the component or equipment.

• Legislative or best practice requirements.

• Frequency of external maintenance tasks: The frequency of maintenance tasks carried out by external competent third parties, such as the calibration, testing and certification of specialised equipment, should be defined. The providers of such services and the records generated from their external maintenance procedures (certificates, etc) should be recorded within the PPM system.

• Spares and replacement inventory: An inventory / stock of equipment spares is required to enable component replacement to take place within the defined timescales set by the PPM system.

• Tools and test equipment inventory: Specialist tools, including test and calibration equipment, may need to be tracked in the PPM system too, to ensure that they are certified or calibrated periodically by a third party.

• Review: Where the PPM process is defined within your safety management system, ensure that this process is covered by the internal audit and review system to verify periodically that the system is working as defined.

Also consider elements of an approach called 'condition-based monitoring' in your maintenance programme to identify items that cost less to replace when they fail than the cost of ongoing preventative maintenance (including maintaining spares inventory, time out of service, etc). Condition-based monitoring differs from the PPM approach in that it uses sensors, instrumentation and other monitoring and testing protocols to generate real-time data on the actual status of equipment so that decisions can be made as to the optimal time to replace or to carry out maintenance, irrespective of a defined time-line.

Q39. What can be covered under a planned preventative maintenance system?

The coverage of any planned preventative maintenance (PPM) system depends on the scope of the operations and associated activities of the organisation running it, but all organisations should be aware of any work equipment under their control that should be maintained, calibrated or tested due to the specific requirements of:

• Legislation that applies in your jurisdiction (such as the requirement to test lifting equipment in the UK[1]).

• Commercial insurance providers.

• Certification bodies.

The following is a typical (but not exhaustive) list of equipment that may be covered under a PPM system:

• HVAC equipment (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning).

• Electrical installations (fixed equipment such as breaker boxes, distribution panels, etc).

• Portable electrical equipment (such as power tools, office equipment, etc.).

• Pressurised equipment (such as pneumatic and hydraulic equipment, vessels, receivers and associated pipe-work, etc).

• Emergency fire and medical equipment.

• Emergency backup systems (such as generators, UPS systems, etc).

• Transport vehicles (for use on public roads).

• Transport vehicles (for use in the workplace such as forklift trucks, etc.).

• Safety systems (such as emergency stops, interlocks, guards, sensors, etc).

• Personal and respiratory protective equipment.

• Lifting equipment and gear (such as cranes, wires, lifting strops, etc).

• Working-at-height equipment and gear (such as scaffolds, ladders, etc).

  • [1] Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations, 1998
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