In the world of maintenance, it’s crucial to have a proactive maintenance strategy rather than a reactive one to ensure the longevity of equipment and assets. The best way and most efficient way to do so is by using a preventive maintenance checklist.
Preventive maintenance checklists, otherwise known as preventative maintenance checklists, are used to develop a process of proactive maintenance by pre-addressing all maintenance tasks and duties.
In this article, we’ll go over what preventive maintenance is, why you need a preventive maintenance checklist, and the elements of a great preventive maintenance checklist. You’ll also find a custom checklist that you can download. If you're interested in learning more via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.
Let’s get started.
What Exactly is Preventive Maintenance?
Preventive maintenance is a proactive maintenance technique where you develop maintenance checks beforehand to predict equipment failure and deal with it in a timely manner.
A preventive maintenance program helps you develop routine maintenance checks across the facility. The idea is to ensure the proper operation of all equipment and facilities through regular inspections, predictions of potential issues, and contingency solutions.
Your preventive maintenance plan uses a system of periodic checking where the maintenance staff develops a method of regular servicing and inspections. For example, the PM checklists would include various machine checks to ensure that all machinery is in good condition.
Some preventive maintenance tasks can include things like changing condenser coils, adding coolant, cleaning water heaters, changing air filters, checking compressors, checking fluid levels, refilling fire extinguishers, checking oil levels, HVAC system checks, and more.
Unlike regular maintenance, preventive maintenance doesn’t only rely on visual inspections. Therefore, you need to make slight adjustments to preventive maintenance checklists for different industries and facilities. However, the general idea of proactive maintenance remains the same.
The maintenance managers have to develop a complete preventive maintenance schedule and maintenance strategy with the help of maintenance workers, maintenance technicians, and the rest of the maintenance team.
The maintenance schedule formalizes all maintenance tasks and duties. Using a mix of predictive maintenance, the maintenance team can essentially reduce equipment downtime, equipment failure, improve functionality, and develop better workflows.
Whether you’re doing equipment maintenance, facility maintenance, or building maintenance, the best way to go about it is by using a preventive maintenance checklist.
Why Do You Need a Preventive Maintenance Checklist?
Setting up a proper order when conducting routine maintenance helps develop a fool-proof system that ensures you do all the necessary checks needed. Having a complete preventive maintenance checklist will help you do the following.
- Improve Safety – Safety is one of the most important things when it comes to maintaining equipment and assets. Good safety measures not only ensure that your employees remain safe but that your equipment doesn’t undergo unexpected failure. A lack of safety can lead to decreased productivity, roadblocks, and can lead to lawsuits and fines. Furthermore, a reduction in human errors through a well-defined preventive maintenance checklist that has safety instructions further reduces any chances of an injury.
- Increase Productivity – If you want to achieve maximum productivity, you have to find a way that requires the minimum amount of time and provides maximum output. Once you reach that point, you standardize the workflow around that way. Preventive maintenance works in the same way as you keep on modifying the steps to maximize productivity with minimal supervision. Eventually, it leads to improved productivity, workflow standardization, and better quality of work.
- Improve Troubleshooting – Having a complete set of instructions at your disposal quickens any troubleshooting you may have to do. That’s because you have each equipment’s maintenance plans and requirements at your disposal. All you have to do is identify viable problems and do some quick checks. In some cases, it’s called a fail checklist where you systematically check what operations are bound to fail to troubleshoot a problem.
- Improve Maintenance Planning – Each preventive maintenance checklist can be combined to develop one proper maintenance plan. When you do that, you have to train each technician and maintenance worker with it, assign relevant tasks, and have a maintenance manager oversee the plan.
Steps to Develop a Complete Preventive Maintenance Checklist
It’s not that complicated to develop a complete preventive maintenance checklist if you follow a few key steps. In any case, you can develop a complete PM checklist with a 3-step checklist.
- Develop Asset List that Requires PMs – You should always start by analyzing all your assets and equipment. Figure out what assets and equipment require preventive maintenance, at what frequency, and how much effort it would require. You can also develop various checklists for different assets. The more thorough you are, the better it is. It would help if you used CMMS to keep track of the assets and equipment.
- Gather OEM Manuals – Each piece of equipment and asset will have an original equipment manual. OEM manuals are developed by the company that makes the equipment and assets. They include all the necessary information needed to maintain the equipment. You don’t necessarily need each and every OEM manual, but it helps to have as many as possible. Use the OEM manuals of all the PM assets to to set up PM tasks.
- Review Historical Asset Data – Each asset and equipment may undergo chances and show unique trends over time. That can happen due to frequent breakdowns, third-party spare parts, jerry-rigging machines, or any other intervention. At this point, you need to employ predictive maintenance actions to get an idea of how you can maintain the asset going forward. Check the equipment maintenance logs to get an idea of how the machine or asset works and develop your PM checklist around it.
After following the steps above, you can develop work orders for various maintenance personnel and using your preventive maintenance checklist.
How to Develop a Good Preventive Maintenance Checklist
Developing a great preventive maintenance checklist mostly depends on a few key factors. You have to understand a few components and why they’re important in your PM checklist.
To better understand what makes a good preventive maintenance checklist, you should consider what components and characteristics help.
Key Components of a Preventive Maintenance Checklist
While each preventive maintenance checklist is slightly different according to different industries, equipment, and organizations, there are a few common components present in all of them.
- Preparation Information – The preparation details include what you need for preventive maintenance tasks. It’s crucial to understand what resources you need to make sure you can fulfill all the checklist requirements. You first need to check all the tools you need to complete each maintenance check. Secondly, you need to make a list of all the spare parts you need, may need, and will need eventually. Lastly, you have to develop an estimated time frame for each maintenance task so you can develop better maintenance schedules.
- Safety Information – The safety details include all the information you need to complete the maintenance tasks safely. This includes safety measures for the employees and ensuring that there are no unexpected breakdowns or equipment failures. Therefore, you need safety instructions along with each maintenance task, along with recommended measures you should take. Furthermore, you need to make a list of the personal protective equipment (PPE) you may need, along with the LOTO instructions.
- Visual Aids – One of the best ways to ensure the maintenance team understands each task is through visual aids. It isn’t necessary, but it is recommended because the more information you can provide, the better the chances of successfully completing each maintenance task. Visual aids can include pictures, diagrams, videos, blueprints, and even AR-assisted aids.
Once you’ve figured out the necessary components, you can focus on the characteristics of a great preventive maintenance checklist. The best part is preventive maintenance software enables you to keep these checklists all in one place.
Key Characteristics of a Preventive Maintenance Checklist
After you have a good idea about the components of a preventive maintenance checklist, you should focus on the right characteristics to maximize its viability.
- Clear and Concise Communication – It’s crucial to ensure that all the information and steps are communicated clearly and concisely. Too much information can lead to confusion and may require more time. You should try to avoid any long paragraphs and try to break each task into multiple shorter steps. Use visual aids wherever you can and annotate it. Most importantly, ensure that each step has a clearly defined purpose and is precise. For example, you should mention a specific check with as many details as you can.
- Sequential Steps – While checklists don’t necessarily need to be sequential, it certainly helps. Developing a step-by-step checklist helps normalize and standardize equipment checks and develops a method. Each maintenance task should be presented in a of sequential steps that need to be followed in the exact order. This would ensure that no checks overlap each other and maintain order to the checklist.
- Updated Information – Many companies develop PM checklists only to never update them. That can lead to outdated PM checks, especially when you’ve installed new spare parts. The PM checklist needs to be updated regularly to optimize the process according to any new adjustments. At times, you may encounter a completely new issue that’s not addressed in the checklist. Most importantly, any new assets and equipment that come in will need new PM checks, especially if they’re integrated with the older equipment.
You should always consider running your preventive maintenance checklist through a trained maintenance technician before you finalize it to make sure you’ve covered all aspects.
Sample Preventive Maintenance Checklist Templates
You will find different types of preventive maintenance checklists when you browse the internet. Each PM checklist will be adjusted according to the industry, equipment, and organizations. However, you can still use sample preventive maintenance checklist templates as a base.
Here are a couple of examples of preventive maintenance checklists:
Heavy Equipment Preventive Maintenance Checklist
The following is a summary of the heavy equipment preventive maintenance checklist.
- Inspect the body of the machinery and look for any scratches, rust, and dents. Check the attachments, downspouts, brakes, railings, electrical connections, and fuel delivery systems.
- If applicable, check the lift arms, hydraulic oil, lubrication, and suspension. You may have to lubricate each moving part as part of the check.
- Check primary components, including tires, tracks, exhausts, and the steering.
- Inspect the engine, including the batteries, coolant fluids, belts, filters, hoses, fluids, and injectors.
- Completely inspect the cab compartment, including the lights, safety devices, grab bars, steps, handrails, and windshields. Check for any broken glass and maintain a servicing record.
Frequent heavy equipment checks improve the overall lifespan of your heavy equipment.
Asphalt Preventive Maintenance Checklist
The following is a summary of the asphalt preventive maintenance checklist.
- Thoroughly sweep the premises and clear it of any debris, trash, water, and other protruding material. Avoid the buildup of any dirt and small rocks to maintain a smooth surface.
- Look for any rutting and raveling and deploy appropriate measures.
- Use sealcoating to fill up small cracks and voids using asphalt emulsion coatings and coal tar sealers. You can use a chip seal, fog seal, or a slurry seal to do the job.
- If you have large cracks, doing crack filling to minimize additional damage. Identify whether they are alligator cracks, reflective cracks, edge cracks, or shrinkage cracks.
- If you see potholes, immediately pothole repairs to reduce water permeation.
- Additional checks you can do include color checking, faded pavement markings, tripping hazards, and looking for any loose rocks.
Asphalt preventive maintenance increases and longevity of your asphalt pavements and roads.
Preparing a Preventive Maintenance Checklist
The starting point of each preventive maintenance checklist is identifying a need for PM. Every piece of equipment benefits from preventive maintenance, leading to longer equipment lifespans, reduced breakdowns, and enhanced safety.
However, you need to keep track of your equipment and assets all the time. That includes having a complete log of repairs, services, and any spare parts that are used.
To ensure that you have a complete overview of your assets, you should consider using a CMMS system like Limble. You can not only keep track of your assets but also develop customized PMs for each piece of equipment, complete preventive maintenance checklist, and PM schedules for maximum productivity.
Josh is a partner at Maintenance Manager HQ.