Why Plant Equipment is Likely to Breakdown And How Can it Be Resolved?

plant equipment maintenance

Plant equipment can break down at any point in time. It’s not ideal when you’re on a tight deadline on site, or you have just purchased your very first machine. In our latest blog post we take a look at the main reasons why a machine could break down and how it could be prevented. Plus, check out training courses we have available at our plant training school. 


Working the machine too hard

When a company has a lot of jobs to complete in a short time frame, there is a chance that plant equipment becomes overworked. Just like workers, machines also need some down time to avoid causing any major issues. Machines could potentially face the following:

  • Overheating
  • High risk of wear and tear
  • Fluid failures
  • Strain on components and hydraulic system

Not regularly carrying out maintenance

Just like a car or any other form of transport, regular maintenance is required to keep it performing at its best. Most plant equipment manuals will recommend when service intervals will need to be carried out. Often this is based on the hours of operation or on a seasonal basis. 

How many of the below checks have you completed recently?

Pre operation checks
  • Inspect the overall condition of the machine and check for any damaged or loose parts
  • Check for any leaks
  • Ensure there is sufficient engine oil fluid levels, power steering fluid levels and washer fluid if applicable
  • Check the track tension on excavators or tyre condition on other plant equipments
  • Make sure the seat belts are in good working condition
  • Inspect the battery and ensure there is no corrosion, and all of the cables, clamps and connections are in place as they should be
Warm-up checks

Once the machine has been turned on, then the following checks will need to be carried out after the machine has been running for at least 5 to 10 minutes:

  • Check the air filter system for any any warnings
  • Listen for any odd noises
  • Ensure there aren’t any warning lights appearing on the dashboard
  • Test that the brakes and any other operational controls are working as expected

Throughout the day, daily operational checks should also be factored into the day. It would be good to plan these for when the machine is having down time. Frequent inspections and regular maintenance are key to reducing the occurrence of breakdowns. 

Weather related problems

Although plant equipment can be used during the majority of weather conditions, it can also be one of the reasons why breakdowns occur. Machines are constantly exposed to dust, dirt, rain, heat, wind and even snow. 

An increased exposure to extreme weather conditions will put your machines under a lot of pressure to still perform as they should. Ultimately, leading to a rise in wear and tear, and possible breakdowns. 

Storage of the machine

For operators that have the facilities to store their machines when not in use, should where possible. Any machines left out in any weather will be at risk of corrosion, as well as potential damage to the machine and any vital parts and components. If plant equipment can be stored it will increase the lifespan of the machine, and ensure safety on site. 

Operators with limited training

One of the biggest factors for plant equipment breakdowns is due to the operators. If they have limited knowledge or experience, then it can lead to incorrect use, causing damage to the machine.

Companies should consider investing time and money into training their operators. Ensuring that they have the relevant qualifications to operate specific machines for their job. When an operator is fully competent in using a machine they will be able to understand what various warning lights and signals mean. As well as knowing how to safely and securely attach and detach any required attachments. 

If you feel like your employees need additional training then we will be able to assist. Find out more about our NPORS training courses below, and where we can carry out training. 


If you want to find out how you can reduce the risk of your plant equipment breaking down then some of our NPORS courses will cover carrying out maintenance.

For those looking to maintain a specific type of plant equipment, we would recommend booking onto courses relevant to that machine. For example, operators can choose from the following:

 We would also recommend the Plant Mover course, for those that will need to operate a range of plant equipment, but not to its full potential. Our full list of NPORS courses can be found on our website, along with course descriptions.


Whether you’re based locally to our main training site in Kent, or closer to our other UK locations in Devon, Durham or Yorkshire, we can carry out NPORS training for you.

We would be more than happy to carry out training on a site of your choice. Our instructors can work with you to meet your certain requirements. Give us a call on: 01634 295355 or email us today to discuss any of our NPORS construction courses. 

Should we have any upcoming course dates that have last minute availability, we will post details on our social media channels so make sure you’re following us! 

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