All equipment is subject to ageing. If not managed appropriately, this can lead to equipment/plant failure. Which, in turn, can lead to financial burdens, pose health & safety risks, and create legal and business continuity issues.
Managing ageing assets
What is ageing?
Ageing is not just about how old your equipment is; it’s about the condition of it, and how it’s changing over time.
The term ‘ageing’ refers to a component suffering deterioration and/or damage. Usually, but not necessarily, associated with time in service. As a result, the asset is more likely to fail over its lifetime.
An ageing asset is equipment with evidence or likelihood of significant deterioration and/or damage since it was new. An asset can also ‘age’ when there’s insufficient information available to know the extent of damage or deterioration.
How serious the deterioration and damage is can tell you what the potential effect will be. In particular, on the equipment’s functionality, availability, reliability and safety. Just because an asset is old doesn’t mean that it’s significantly deteriorating and damaged. All types of equipment can be susceptible to ageing mechanisms.
What are your duties?
As part of your overall maintenance strategy, you should identify which equipment is at high risk in terms of loss and which can be subject to ageing. Put in place a regime to maintain assets in a state of good repair and efficient working order.
Your business might already have the required standards and procedures documented. If you do, organise them into a document explaining how you’ll implement and maintain these requirements.
These standards and procedures should refer to both operational and process health & safety issues.
If you’d like to collate all your documentation, but are unsure where ageing assets crop up, we have a comprehensive list. There’s a number of key control systems that include ageing assets, including:
- Maintenance Management Systems
- Asset Management and Integrity Systems
- Audit and Inspection regimes
- Risk Assessment Management processes
- Management of Change procedures
- Permit to Work
- Responsibilities and Communications
- Training and Competence development
Look after your assets and they’ll look after your business. Ignore them and it could be costly in more ways than one.
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