The reason we have maintenance, care, and inspection schedules is not just to extend the lifetime of assets, but also to prevent loss by either injury, damage, or even death. Schedules could be anything from a visual check and drop of oil to a formal survey or inspection by an external provider. As with an annual MOT of your car, such safety checks will not completely remove risk of failure but will reduce it significantly.
Take the very sad recent case where a pupil was fatally injured by a falling tree.
The tree was in poor condition in a playground and the risk had not been managed.
Maintenance, testing, and inspection vary depending on the asset and the risk. For some, such as lifts, the statutory requirements are generally well understood. However, we often see gaps where requirements are either best practice or required by risk. Particularly when budgets are tight, these can be the controls that slide, often because duty holders do not recognise the risk implication.
Things for you to check:
- Does the planned maintenance and inspection schedule for your premises meet statutory requirements, manufacturers' guidance, established best practice, and your own risk assessments?
- Do your risk assessments clearly state the maintenance and inspection schedule where required to control hazards?
- Do your records show a good history of maintenance, inspection, and remedial works as applicable?
- If you have had to reduce spending, have you fully understood the safety implications of removing or reducing maintenance or inspection?
- If you had an incident would your controls stand up to scrutiny and demonstrate that you had done everything that is reasonably practicable?