Heavy equipment requires a huge investment, and regular maintenance on this type of machinery can save you a lot of headaches and money from costly repairs. Properly maintained heavy equipment will function efficiently, increase workers’ productivity and improve the working environment for every one.
Different types of heavy equipment may require specific maintenance procedures but there are basic steps that you can employ to properly care for any type of heavy equipment.
- Regular inspection of any heavy equipment can alert you to potential damage to the machine or danger to the operator. Make it part of your standard operating procedure to do regular inspection. Require your operators to report any sign of malfunction, to do manual and physical inspection before and after each shift.
- Do visual inspections in the morning to check for damage that can be fixed by minor repairs and do them immediately before using the equipment. Your toolbox should be complete and within easy reach when needed.
- Check oil, gas and radiator coolant levels and fill as needed.
- Inspect hoses and hydraulic line connectors to see if there are cracks and leaks prior to actual use. Do not use your hand to inspect and look for leaks. Use paper or cardboard instead.
- During down times, clean radiators and air filters of dirt, dust and debris built up to keep the motor functioning smoothly and avoid overheating.
- Remove caked mud, debris and rocks stuck to track rollers and top frames.
- Check that the tires are properly inflated. Replace tires that have bulges, cuts, and abnormal wear.
- Require your operators to keep the cab clean and free from food wastes for standard sanitation and prevent pest infestation that can eventually damage the interior of the cab.
- A fire extinguisher and a first aid kits should be placed inside each heavy equipment cab.
- Windshields and mirrors should be kept clean at all times for clear visibility. Check also that all lights are working and replace burned out and broken bulbs.
- Check that all gauges, instruments and warning devices are functioning normally and giving standard readings.
- Test steering wheels and brakes before putting the heavy equipment to actual use.
- All gears and other moving parts should be lubricated and greased regularly to keep your heavy machinery in tip-top condition.
- Check all wiring and hoses for signs of fraying, tears and cracks and repair/replace defective ones to prevent them from getting increasingly worn.
- Give your operators the right training in the operation of each type of heavy equipment. Inexperienced and untrained operators can do some damage to heavy equipment.
- Perform minor repairs as soon as possible to prevent the problem from escalating. Minor repairs can save you from costly major repairs and lengthy downtime.
- While you endeavor to keep your heavy equipment in top condition, it is also wise to have your operators wear the proper safety gear when using and operating heavy equipment to prevent personal injury.
- No Smoking should be observed at all times, particularly near heavy equipment.
Proper and regular care and maintenance can extend the life of expensive heavy equipment and keep you and your workers safe. Make it a habit to have a record of all maintenance done on your heavy equipment so you can track repairs and machine performance.