What is a maintenance SOP?

A maintenance SOP (standard operating procedure) is a detailed document that describes all the steps maintenance workers need to follow while performing a task. It explicitly defines the expected practices and quality standards that need to be met. They are used for many purposes, including maintaining proper quality assurance of operations and processes, support technician and manager training, ensure regulatory compliance, and ensure machines run efficiently. The steps included in a maintenance SOP are usually in accordance with industry regulations, laws, and company standards.

Which maintenance processes need SOPs?

Creating standard operating procedures for your facility requires understanding which processes actually need a SOP document. Generally, maintenance SOPs are best developed for routine or repetitive tasks. SOPs are generally not the best option for maintenance tasks that are too complicated with complex decision-making or creative problem-solving. It’s also important to determine the scope of each SOP. Some will be short linear procedures ,while others may involve more complex processes with multiple layers of steps.

Maintenance SOPs usually work well for processes such as:

What should a maintenance SOP include?

When creating a maintenance SOP for a procedure, the first step is to get input from your maintenance team since they are the ones who will be implementing the SOP and know how to do the tasks the best. Common components of a maintenance SOP include:

  • What equipment, parts, and tools, including personal protective equipment, should be used
  • Identifying the skills that are required
  • Safety hazards and related procedures
  • A step by step explanation of what tasks need to be performed and in what order
  • Additional reference documents, such as schematics or instruction manuals
  • The number of people needed to complete each task
  • Applicable compliance regulations or standards

Maintenance SOP example

To give you a better idea of how a maintenance SOP is set up, below is an example of a maintenance SOP for when machinery breaks down.

  • Objective

    To detail the procedure for when machinery breaks down.

  • Scope

    This SOP is applicable to equipment, machinery, and facility breakdowns

  • Responsibility

    Operator, technician, officer, executive

  • Accountability

    Head of Engineering

  • Procedure
    • Communicate the breakdown to the engineering department and provide relevant notes about how the breakdown happened.
    • Officer or executive of engineering authorizes a technician to attend the scene of the breakdown.
    • While carrying out the breakdown maintenance, ensure the following steps are taken:
      • Switch off the power supply of the machine and put up a sign that says “Under maintenance”.
      • Discuss the breakdown details with the operator to understand the situation.
      • Inspect the machine and check the cause of the breakdown.
      • After identifying the cause, mark any parts of the machine that need to be dismantled.
      • Keep the dismantled parts of the machine in a labeled tray and clean them thoroughly.
      • After the repairs, reassemble the parts and check for smooth operations.
      • Lubricate the parts whenever necessary as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
      • After the breakdown has been satisfactorily repaired, demonstrate a trial operation to the operator and confirm the repairs are sufficient.
      • Remove the “Under maintenance” sign.
    • Record the repair in the machine history card.
    • In case a major part needs to be replaced, follow a change control procedure (this will need to be created separately).

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Creating maintenance SOPs requires careful planning and feedback from all the stakeholders who would be involved in executing the procedure. When implemented correctly, maintenance SOPs can improve reliability and safety in a facility. Implementing maintenance SOPs into your day-to-day operations can make your maintenance more efficient, effective, and reduce the amount of time and rework required to get a task done properly, saving everyone involved headaches and frustration.

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