It’s that time again: inspection time! Inspection time doesn’t have to be a dreaded part of the year. With a little preparation, equipment inspections can be a breeze. Regular inspections keep your facility operational and save money in the long run. Whether it’s a safety inspection mandated by the state, insurance company, or just good company policy, you want to be ready.
Why Do Inspections Matter?
No maintenance program is complete without an inspection schedule. Regularly scheduled inspections are used to ensure that equipment is in proper working order and performing as designed. When inspections allow you to discover problems early on, additional maintenance or replacements can be put on the schedule and prevent serious future issues. The alternative is having equipment fail when you’re not expecting it - and the downtime that comes with that. Inspections give you the ability to schedule an interruption of service when it works for your schedule, minimizing downtime for your facility.
Inspections also keep your facility safe. Some systems can be a nuisance when they go down. Other systems can endanger lives if they fail catastrophically. Inspections help prevent equipment from getting to that point. Boilers are a great example of equipment that benefits from regular inspection by trained personnel, which is required by law in many states.
What Systems Need Inspecting?
Almost every system in your facility can benefit from regularly scheduled inspections. Your electrical and mechanical systems should all have inspection times scheduled as a part of your facility’s preventative maintenance program. Using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) can help take the labor out of making sure your facility stays in tip-top shape. A CMMS is used to record inspections, place work orders, and schedule future maintenance or inspections. Many CMMS systems can be used on mobile devices as well, making inspections incredibly easy and efficient.
What is Needed for a Successful Inspection?
As with many things in life, having the right tools for the job is essential. Inspections are no different. The technician performing the inspection needs to be equipped with everything necessary to confirm the equipment is in proper working order or mark that something does not seem right (in order to decide if further inspection or repair is warranted). For specialized equipment like boilers, most facilities will not have a trained inspector in house. For systems like these, contract out their inspection to ensure the equipment is inspected correctly. In addition to being trained and qualified to work on the equipment, an inspector will require access to the following for a proper inspection:
- A good pen light.
- Industrial stethoscope.
- Vibration pen.
- Infrared thermometer.
- Ladders to access equipment.
- Drop light with extension cord to access equipment.
- Lock-Out / Tag-Outs for isolated equipment to be inspected.
Even with the right tools and training, inspections are no good unless they are done on the right equipment at the right times. An inspection program should take into account what needs to be inspected while the equipment is off, as well as what must be inspected while the equipment is in operation. Scheduling short periods of downtime so that the inspector can check on belts, chains, and other power transmission equipment is worthwhile if it prevents major, unscheduled downtime in the future.
What Kind of Inspections Should You Do?
Although you could have just one inspection schedule, this approach often leads to items being overlooked and equipment not being properly inspected. Breaking inspections out by what specific components are being checked helps ensure inspections serve their purpose. Some of the most common types of inspections are:
- Safety Inspections: Check first aid kits, ensure safeties are working on equipment and check that PPE materials are in order.
- Lighting Inspections: Check and replace bulbs. Inspect that exterior lighting fixtures are working and properly sealed.
- Boiler Inspections: Check that safety valves are in proper working order. Inspect the exterior of the boiler for obvious signs of deterioration or failure. Make sure the boiler area is free from debris and potentially combustible items. Check and clean both the fireside and waterside.
- Electrical Inspections: Check fuses and circuit breakers for good condition. Verify that timers and motion detectors are working properly. Change batteries in equipment as needed.
- Building Inspections: Check that walls, paint, and ceiling are all in good working condition and note signs of deterioration.
- Mechanical Inspections: Filters should be changed in HVAC equipment and the units should be cleaned out. Compressed air lines should be checked for leaks and signs of deterioration.
Regularly scheduled inspections reduce downtime, extend equipment operating lives, and ultimately save money. If your facility doesn’t currently have good equipment inspection times scheduled, give us a call and let us help.