Maintenance and OSH: a statistical picture

A new report - published by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
(EU-OSHA) - shows the main hazards, risks, health problems and accidents that
maintenance workers in Europe are exposed to and suggests appropriate
prevention measures. 10-15% of all fatal workplace accidents are related to
maintenance operations. EU-OSHA's new campaign on Safe Maintenance raises
awareness of the importance of proper maintenance work.

Maintenance is a generic term for a variety of tasks in different sectors and
all kinds of working environments. This report aims to provide an overview of
maintenance workers in Europe with regard to their exposure to hazards and the
main risks, health problems and accidents. It also gives some indication as to
appropriate prevention measures.

Maintenance influences the safety and health of workers in two ways. Regular
maintenance that is correctly planned and carried out is essential to keep both
machines and the work environment safe and reliable. Maintenance itself has to
be performed in a safe way, with appropriate protection of maintenance workers
and others present in the workplace.

Two different types of maintenance can be distinguished:

  • Corrective maintenance - when actions are intended to restore a system from a failed state to a working state (e.g. repair or replacement of broken components). This type of maintenance is also known as 'reactive maintenance' because the action is initiated when the unscheduled event of an equipment failure occurs;

  • Preventive maintenance - when actions are carried out at predetermined intervals or according to prescribed criteria intended to reduce the probability of failure or the degradation of the functioning of an item. In this case, actions are scheduled, proactive and intended to control the deterioration process leading to failure of a system (e.g. replacement, lubrication, cleaning or inspection).

There is also a third type of maintenance which concerns large-scale
maintenance. This is carried out to allow an item to accomplish new or
additional functions, or the same function in better conditions. It is
frequently carried out during shutdown (an outage scheduled in advance) of the

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AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work