The four leading causes of death in the construction industry, known as the “Fatal Four,” consists of falling, being struck by an object, electrocution, and being crushed. These tragic manners of dying costed the life of three workers each day in 2016. The seriousness of this topic is often misunderstood or, more likely, ignored by workers. But you’re here to change all that by learning about the importance of maintenance, how to conduct heavy equipment maintenance, and signs you should look for to avoid prolonged downtime.

1.    The Importance of Maintenance

Maintenance is conducted to prevent the corrosion or wearing off of the equipment that can lead to further damage. This is very important when the heavy equipment is needed for many tasks—here’s why:

 

  • Improved Safety

According to research, fatalities in construction involving the use of vehicles and heavy equipment amounted to 7,681 deaths from 1992 to 2010, or about 404 deaths annually.

 

Equipment that does not undergo regular maintenance will inevitably create many hazards, leading to an unsafe working environment that is prone to emergencies and in turn, puts property and lives at stake.

 

  • Save Money

Maintenance is excellent for saving lives, but it’s also great when it comes to saving money.

 

After experiencing an equipment emergency, most workers divert their attention to solving the problem. This occurrence will interrupt their productivity and tasks that should be done will have to wait until later. Maintenance prevents this situation from happening and allows workers to stay focused on the task at hand without dealing with faulty equipment.

 

  • Increased Efficiency

Another reason why maintaining heavy equipment is important is its impact on efficiency. Regular maintenance eliminates the lag or delay between each action taken by the machine.

 

With increased efficiency, there is also better productivity, and since it runs in peak performance, lesser energy is needed and overusing it is not necessary anymore.

 

Now that you understand the importance of maintaining heavy equipment, let’s get into the process and tips for how to provide maintenance. 

 

2.    How Can You Maintain Heavy Equipment

Construction industries mainly use two types of maintenance. These are predictive and preventive maintenance. There’s also corrective maintenance—when equipment is repaired or “corrected”.

 

a.    Predictive maintenance

Two types of hazards exist at work involving heavy equipment, mechanical and non-mechanical. Predictive maintenance is used for these kinds of hazards. It is the process of taking actions based on data from the performance of the equipment. This includes measuring the vibration of equipment to know how long it takes before bearings become loose. With that data, you can take action and apply lubricants or oil whenever the calculated time is reached.

 

Mechanical hazards are presented by the movement of machines. They put workers at risk of being struck by an object, electrocuted, crushed, and more.

 

  • Being struck by an object means being hit by equipment in any part of your body, but your head is the most vital. There’s the option of wearing hard hats, but there’s a much better way to improve your safety.

 

Due to the vibration caused by the equipment, the bolts slowly loosen and the object that they are holding can hit a worker with a force strong enough to cause permanent damage or even death. This leads to the importance of checking equipment regularly.

 

You may also want to use lubricant, a substance that reduces friction and prevents bolts, screws, or any fastener from losing their grip.

 

b.    Preventive Maintenance

Unlike predictive maintenance, there is no need for data or statistics in carrying out preventive maintenance. It is scheduled and done once a week, thrice a week, and sometimes, every day. This schedule depends on the equipment being maintained.

 

Preventive maintenance is a failsafe operation that makes up for the testing of predictive maintenance. You can check the bearings, lighting, motors, engines, filters, batteries, and other parts if wearing is noticeable. With the results of your observation, repairs or corrective maintenance can now be conducted.

   

3.    How Do You Know If It Needs Fixing?   

Drill in your head the image of when the job began and the equipment was new. Remember the safe and untouched equipment—how it was before use wore it down. If some equipment looks different now, check it regularly.

 

  • Use the equipment for a while, if there are problems with how it moves, replace or repair these parts. Equipment parts should come from trusted suppliers. Buying a skid steer rubber track replacement from just anyone could cause problems in the future.

 

  • When it comes to checking the batteries of equipment, remember that it is easy and cheap to replace them and therefore, it is advised to have a regular schedule for changing batteries.

 

  • When tighteners are misaligned, they can break. This can result easily in objects flying here and there. Tighteners should be straight and the tension should be just right to resist the friction.

 

  • When the storage area is dirty, rodents may present a problem and gnaw on wires. This may cause sudden electrical problems that will lead to electrocution.

 

  • After harsh weather, check everything out but be careful when doing this. Rain and wind can both damage heavy equipment and present problems for its users.

 

  • Test the motors and engines to be sure that they are doing what they should be doing. If they are supposed to emit a lot of smoke, they should do that. If not, there are repairs to be done.

 

If you think you already know how to work this out, then good for you. Construction companies often trust workers to do the maintenance, but they sometimes have no time for that. Maintenance requires more than regularly scheduled fixes, it requires your full attention and your ability to notice when something isn’t operating as it should. That’s why it’s sometimes helpful to have a professional to help keep your workplace running smooth and safe.