It’s no secret that the construction industry can be a dangerous one. Many employees risk their physical health day in and day out to complete projects on time. Using heavy equipment to complete these projects without adequate equipment maintenance requires risk management. Limiting both minor and fatal injuries is a high priority for those managing construction sites.
The U.S. Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) employs around 1,850 inspectors to ensure the safety of 130 million workers in the construction industry. These inspectors visit more than 8 million worksites across the country for compliance inspections.
For context, this equals about one inspector for every 70,000 workers. Because of this discrepancy, industry leaders and construction companies must work together to create safer construction sites.
One way to do this is to stress the importance of equipment maintenance checks, especially for new construction industry members. Many industries use equipment to perform daily operations. However, the construction industry relies on heavy equipment to get the job done. Because of this, maintenance checks are integral to the successful completion of a project.
Continue reading to learn more about the importance of performing inspections and maintenance checks on the equipment you work with every day.
Why Should I Check Equipment?
Performing inspections on equipment can seem like a tedious task. If the equipment is working correctly, is there a need to complete a maintenance check? Listed below are some reasons why performing checks on all equipment are necessary.
It’s challenging to guarantee heavy equipment will work under all conditions. Machines can fail for several reasons, and it’s essential to recognize that equipment failure is sometimes unavoidable. The key here is to understand that checking equipment before continuing on a project can prevent malfunctions.
Because of the nature of the equipment, it would be unreasonable to ask a site manager to anticipate any malfunctions from occurring. Construction managers have multiple responsibilities while on the job, such as risk management, project planning, obtaining permits, and preparing reports.
Remember that taking extra precautions while inspecting equipment will save you time and frustration in the future.
Ensure Safety On-Site
Equipment that is inadequately inspected leaves construction workers susceptible to severe injury. In the construction industry, there were 888,200 cases where employees had to take time away from work due to some injury. Falling, being stuck in or in-between machinery, crushed limbs, and burns are only some of the injuries that can happen during construction.
By regularly performing maintenance checks, these types of injuries become avoidable. Workers should feel safe in their environment, regardless of the industry they work in. Accidents do happen, and it’s difficult to prevent all accidents from occurring.
There are no downsides to ensuring safety, especially on a construction site.
Increase Equipment Lifespan
Standard construction equipment like forklifts, backhoes, bulldozers, and excavators are expensive to repair or replace. Also, it can be a challenge to find equipment that meets your needs.
For example, there are several classes of forklifts available to use depending on your project. Finding a suitable replacement may be troublesome for your company.
By performing inspections on these pieces of equipment, you’ll likely be able to use them for much longer. The better you take care of your equipment, the longer it’ll last. This means more projects can be completed, and less money is spent on repair jobs.
If you can avoid replacing or repairing your equipment, more time is spent working on your projects. Downtime during a project leads to a loss of revenue. Time is money!
It’s challenging to find cost-effective solutions to equipment problems. In March 2021, construction spending totaled over $1.5 billion. Companies have to evaluate the cost to do business, and only necessary repairs or replacements should be included in that.
Increasing profits allows construction companies to invest in better-quality equipment, which means high-quality work. Completed projects will come out looking cleaner and built better, whether it’s a small house or a skyscraper.
In addition to high costs, repairing equipment causes delays, which leaves clients disgruntled. Sometimes, it’s time to replace parts, and your budget allows for it. In that case, finding a quality repair shop that has fast turnaround times will make the repair process hassle-free.
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of performing equipment maintenance checks, let’s dive into how to create a maintenance checklist for construction equipment.
How Should I Complete My Checks?
An easy way to complete your regular maintenance checks is to create a thorough, comprehensive checklist. The purpose of any checklist is to take the guesswork out of whatever task you’re trying to complete. Relying on your memory to achieve something as complex as heavy equipment maintenance is not enough. If you forget to perform certain items on your checklist, it could lead to malfunctions in the future.
By creating a checklist, you’re able to approach any piece of equipment knowing you’ll be able to inspect it thoroughly. Set aside a time when you and your employees can follow the checklist and adequately check your heavy equipment. Stress the importance of performing inspections on your employees.
Here are a few examples of what items could be on your maintenance checklist:
- Tires or tracks
- Hydraulic oil
- Engine oil
- Brake fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Cooling system fluid
Feel free to get creative on your custom checklist. A helpful tip to keep in mind is to arrange your inventory by machine. Each machine should have a specific list of its unique parts and operations.
When creating your checklist, here are some things to remember:
- Use columns and rows for the organization.
- Make copies for all employees and equipment.
- Include a notes area for employees to relay important information.
- Have employees sign and date the checklist for accountability.
- Add a repair needed box to check off if necessary.
There’s no right or wrong way to incorporate a maintenance checklist into your daily routine. Your checklist may be dependent on each project and what equipment you’re using.
Consider adding a time block in your project schedule that is meant just for equipment maintenance checks. This could be once or twice per shift — either way, this will ensure your equipment is ready to use.
Check Your Equipment Regularly
The only drawback of checking your equipment is that it may take some time out of your workday. However, the benefits are well worth that extra time spent performing inspections.
Ensure the safety of your staff by checking your equipment maintenance. Some equipment may require more comprehensive inspections, but this will prevent repairs or replacements and make your work site safer.
Rose Morrison is a real estate and home improvement writer and the managing editor of Renovated. She’s most interested in sharing home projects and inspiration for the most novice of DIY-ers, values she developed growing up in a family of contractors.