Maintaining construction equipment in good working order is a key factor for a safe and profitable construction project. To accomplish this, there must be effective troubleshooting and implementation of a sound maintenance program, usually based on the equipment manufacturers’ specifications. Some contractors’ approach: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” does not work. The proper selection and training of operators also are important in avoiding injuries to workers, costly equipment damage, and project delays.
Comprehensive inspections and scheduled maintenance allows equipment owners to correct potential problems before they develop. Successful maintenance and the proper allocation of time based on the following factors can greatly contribute to a successful maintenance program.
Regular, basic, and minor equipment checks are completed to detect potential equipment problems. Checks should include that equipment restrictions, weights, warnings, and limitations are properly posted and followed for safe operation.
Parts subjected to extreme wear require close inspection. Earth-moving machinery tires and tractor tracks are two areas that should be examined closely. Other common surfaces include blades, rippers, teeth, buckets, and rollers. It is very difficult to anticipate failures of these items; however, time spent on preventive maintenance will help avoid wear-point failure.
Use maintenance and inspection specifications provided by equipment manufacturers to establish effective programs. For example, excessive oil consumption and unusual noises can be reported and corrected using this system. Hydraulic systems are frequently used on construction equipment. Components of such systems need extra care. Hydraulic fluids need to be compatible with the specific equipment and conditions under which the equipment will be used.
Here are some other easy and effective techniques:
Due to safety regulations and the high cost of equipment, operator selection is extremely important. Operators should be experienced, well trained, in good health and certified/licensed when required. Selection and revised training procedures should be coordinated with local unions to keep operators up-to-date. The master mechanic, steward, and field superintendent must be knowledgeable individuals who can contribute their experience and talents to proper operator selection and training.
Employ guards or watchpersons to reduce vandalism. It is helpful if these individuals are representatives of a local law enforcement body. If these services are not available, permanent equipment yards should be secured by using suitable fencing and, if required, area alarms. Adequate lights should also be provided for equipment parking areas. A phone with local police, medical centers, and fire department numbers should be posted in the event of an emergency.