Human factors: Maintenance, Inspection and Testing (MIT)

This Key Topic contains links to two issues:

Why are maintenance, inspection and testing important? 

Maintenance, Inspection and Testing (MIT) are key activities for many industries, particularly those that are classed as 'major hazards'. These activities can be assessed through two means – a review of the outputs (eg maintenance backlogs), and an assessment of the process. The assessment of the process may follow the approach outlined in HSE's publication "Successful Health & Safety Management", HSG65 (the POPMAR format - Policy, Organising, Planning, Measuring, Auditing and Review).

Two preliminary questions are:

  1. Have adequate resources and staff been made available to undertake the necessary maintenance, inspection and testing in your organisation?
  2. Do senior managers and directors understand fully the consequences of failing to provide this resource?

This topic is concerned with the system of managing these key activities; guidance on human failures during maintenance and related activities can be found on the Maintenance Error topic page.

Key principles in maintenance, inspection and testing

  • Allocation of roles and responsibilities for managing these activities;
  • A system for identifying relevant plant and equipment - and including it in the MIT system;
  • Ensuring that those personnel determining MIT regimes and intervals are competent to do so;
  • A system for assuring the competence and supervision of those personnel undertaking these activities;
  • Provision of appropriate instructions and procedures for MIT staff;
  • Ensuring effective communications between all personnel in the MIT system;
  • Providing an effective system to record, track and trend key MIT information;
  • Management of overdue MIT, with consideration of priority (and a review of why items are overdue);
  • Lagging and leading indicators which reflect the risk profile of the plant and equipment;
  • Procedures for examination, inspection & proof testing have clear pass/fail criteria;
  • Where MIT activities are outsourced, the duty-holder should retain an intelligent customer capability;
  • Independent review of the MIT system to determine whether it is fit-for-purpose.

More information on maintenance, inspection and testing

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