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Don't overlook the obvious!

Have you experienced driving along a familiar route, and suddenly realized you have travelled some distance without being aware of it. This happens as you have stopped consciously processing information and the skill of driving is controlled by the brain identifying “known” information without thinking.

Living in the Information Age, we are accustomed to filtering information. It's a survival mechanism, which we have adopted in order to manage information overload. We only pay attention to certain things (“known” things). It’s usually exceptions to the rule that catch our attention - while virtually ignoring everything else.

While this survival mechanism may help us well in daily life, it isn't an advantage for mobile plant operators performing daily prestart inspection checklist. By not performing a structured and rigorous daily pre-start inspection checklist of your machine, you can easily overlook some obvious problems.

First and foremost, the purpose of a pre-start inspection checklist is to ensure the machine is safe to operate. A defective machine could easily endanger the life of its operator, as well as those working in close proximity to it. 

On a more practical level, a pre-start inspection helps you to find small problems before they can become big ones. That means less unscheduled downtime and fewer expensive repairs - which translates into an improved bottom line for your operation.

A pre-start checklist is intended to achieve the following objectives:

  • Aid the operator in recalling the process, ensuring the plant in ready for use.
  • Provide a standard foundation for verifying the plant is safe to use.
  • Provide convenient sequences for movements around the item of plant.
  • Provide an orderly framework to meet your operational requirements.
  • Serve as a quality control tool as required by Worksafe for the review of plant before use.

Another objective of an effective pre-start inspection checklist, often overlooked, is the promotion of a positive “attitude” toward its use. For this to happen, the pre-start checklist must be relevant to the machine, its operation and environment, and the operator must have a good understanding of its importance instead of regarding it as a nuisance task.  

Encouraging notes to be made, (not just a tick or flick response), quickly following up on issues revealed during inspections and making pre-start checks a topic of discussion ensures the company takes these pre-start inspection checks seriously.  

Don’t zone in and out when performing your pre-start check.