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The Critical Differences Between Inspection and Maintenance

Regular engineering inspection and diligent maintenance are both absolutely vital for safe and efficient business operations. However, the two serve different purposes.


Inspection identifies any dangerous faults or defects in plant and machinery before they escalate into more severe safety hazards. Mandatory periodic inspections are legally required to comply with health and safety regulations. Failing to properly inspect equipment can lead to prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).


Maintenance involves actively repairing, replacing, servicing and testing items to restore machinery to full working order and safety. Inadequate maintenance also risks HSE prosecution and workplace accidents causing injury or death. Company owners and managers have important legal and ethical duties to maintain equipment in safe operating condition.


Having independent engineering inspections demonstrates impartiality in evaluating equipment faults. Negligent employers who inadequately inspect and maintain face major financial penalties under 2016 Sentencing Guidelines, potentially millions in fines based on company turnover, plus potential prison time in severe cases.


Making inspection and maintenance central to health/safety and risk management strategy contributes to workplace safety, business continuity, and avoiding prosecution. Inspection identifies problems early, while diligent maintenance prevents impairments before hazards arise. Together, they keep workers safe and businesses productive.



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