Machine safety: how to handle and organize …

There machine safety is a very relevant aspect for the protection of health and safety at work and inspection and maintenanceplanned and planned, is a key element in maintaining this security over time.

He’s talking about it today Alessandro Mazzeranghi in the second part of his reflection on machine risk, with a contribution entitled “Reflections on machine safety: maintenance plans“.

Reflections on machine safety: maintenance plans

A brief reflection on the risks of machinery in the company in the light of the crucial improvements made in terms of safety and sustained a high number of deaths caused by machinery and industrial plants. This second part is dedicated to maintenance plans.


Do we have a plan for periodic inspections and scheduled maintenance? Does this also apply to machines?

How to organize the maintenance plan for the machines

How to improve the maintenance plan for the machines – phase 1

Self-control card

How to improve the maintenance plan for the machines – phase 2


This is MY definition that will be the basis of everything I want to say below:

sets of activities aimed at avoiding events that are seriously damaging to people, property and business continuity, civil society and the environment or simply the cost of repairs.

Maybe it’s not the canonical definition I know, but I want it to be clear the ultimate goal of the choices I want to make, choices about what to send for scheduled maintenance and what to wait for maintenance by mistake, given the planned maintenance is a cost that it becomes an investment only if the benefit (productive, human, technical, image) obtained by it outweighs the cost.

Do we have a plan for periodic inspections and scheduled maintenance? Does this also apply to machines?

We are all used to having an inspection or maintenance plan for the items that the law requires. I highly recommend those who did not even have this to return from the street.

I’m talking about lifting equipment ropes, forklift chains and forks, safety valves and many other things. Among the machines, only a few require special attention because they are characterized by special, very predictable and significant risks in terms of damage. By the way, it is free field. We are therefore authorized not to take any action pending the possible error and its consequences. Apart from the fact that the work equipment must be in good condition and properly maintained, the law says (Executive Order 81/08, art. 71), but to what extent?

We know this only when we see the consequences of the failure; if we are at home, the judiciary probably has not done what the law required. It seems a little late.


  1. we must include the machines in the maintenance plan
  2. the planned activities must prevent failures that are dangerous to people and the environment.

How to organize the maintenance plan for the machines

Clear how to leave:

  1. Requirements in law or law, if any.
  2. Indications in the manufacturer’s manuals.
  3. Previous business experience.

In our case, of course, we focus on what pertains to security, or the aspects of functionality that may affect security.

Perhaps this is the case here to distinguish between three things:

  • Scheduled maintenance: which is called simple means to replace something because it is believed that it is no longer able to perform its function adequately.
  • Scheduled checks: to see if deterioration phenomena have really brought a component close to dangerous failure, we will here also talk about residual life.
  • State intervention: when a warning sign asks us to inspect and, if confirmed, proceed with maintenance. Here we are talking about sensors.

How to improve the maintenance plan for the machines – phase 1

There is also technique. Although no one tells me about a steel component that is highly prone to fatigue whose fracture can cause serious damage, I would like to include it at least in the verification plan to periodically check that no fatigue cracks occur at the loaded points. You will say: but it will be designed for an infinite life! You would do unnecessary work. True, this can be bypassed-but not unless you’re a techie who knows what he’s doing.

I’m talking about machines, therefore about what I know, but I think that’s a general principle.

Self-control card

They do not fall under the concept of maintenance, which connects the specific activity with the intervention of more specialized personnel than the user of the machine (more expert in the product), but they represent an interesting option aimed at avoiding the trivial but critical shortcomings may remain undetected and therefore cause serious injury.

A classic example is the self-check cards about the integrity and functionality of protections and safety systems that must be used every time an operator starts using a particular machine (eg starting shifts).

How to improve the maintenance plan for the machines – phase 2

What I have described, I would say, is the most a business can do when they receive a car. Then use begins and unexpected errors occur that require maintenance. Given the goals I said initially, there will be some elements to know for each error:

  • Frequency of errors.
  • Cost and time for repair
  • Possible serious consequences of that error (even if it did not happen).
  • Any impact on waste, quality and continuity in production …

It is nothing more than an Excel spreadsheet with some statistical treatment (which, however, few have) that allows you to add any checks or maintenance to the plan, of course, if the cost-benefit ratio justifies it.

Link to the first article “Reflections on machine safety: are we really okay?”.

Alessandro Mazzeranghi

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