Preventive Maintenance: Don't forget about the small stuff

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Comprehensive preventive maintenance is essential to reducing hazards associated with mobile equipment. While equipment maintenance programs in mining and aggregate operations often bring to mind large, powerful and heavy mobile equipment, maintenance programs must not forget about the smaller, simpler equipment which can pose just as many risks.

A member company experienced a close call when the mast chain roller failed on a forklift and caused the fork assembly to drop. Investigations revealed the load chain had corroded due to lack of proper lubrication. The seized chain caused undue stress to the roller and roller bearing which subsequently failed, allowing the chain to slip off and the load to drop. The member company has since updated preventive maintenance practices and trained operators on how to identify if the chains or rollers need attention. 


Preventive maintenance programs should include, as a minimum:

  • An inventory of all equipment
  • A risk assessment to create an inventory of tasks for preventive maintenance on all equipment
  • A method and schedule to determine when preventive maintenance should take place
  • Contact with equipment suppliers to ensure maintenance program is complete 
  • A recording system to document tasks associated with preventive maintenance
  • Follow-up by supervisors to ensure preventive maintenance is taking place


Section 25(1)(b) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers to ensure that equipment, materials and protective devices are maintained in good and safe condition. Section       25(2)(h) states an employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances or the protection of the worker.