Health and Safety Dangers When Performing Maintenance
The normal operation of machinery in a place of work can be a danger to health at any time if they are used in the wrong way or a person gets closer to them than they should. However, if the right precautions and safety measures are not put in place and rigorously enforced, performing maintenance on equipment can be even more dangerous.
Whilst health and safety training courses and safety briefings can inform workers about what to do and what not to do, it needs to be supplemented with control measures to prevent an accident happening.
The causes of this danger to those performing maintenance on equipment usually takes one of two forms; either from the equipment itself or from the actions of other people.
As far as the actions of other people are concerned, this is likely to involve maintenance on extremely large pieces of equipment where it is prematurely restarted or the supply of electricity is turned on whilst work is still being performed. Suitable precautions must be taken to prevent this such as switching off the isolator and using a padlock to lock it in place. The person doing the work should have the only key so that only they can turn the power back on once they are clear of the machinery. If multiple people are working on it, they should each have their own unique padlock.
With regards to the equipment itself, the risks are extremely varied and will depend largely upon the type of machinery being maintained. These dangers include the accidental starting of the equipment, not disconnecting from mains electricity before starting work, static electricity which causes a fire or explosion, burns from unexpected hot gas release or leaking of corrosive chemicals, damage from substances which are hazardous to health, falling from height if the machinery or access area involves a person having to go high up, extreme temperature, noise, cuts from sharp edges and many, many more.