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Occupational risks in industrial maintenance

Salla Lind (Systems Engineering, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Tampere, Finland)
Sanna Nenonen (Institute of Occupational Safety Engineering, Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland)

Journal of Quality in Maintenance Engineering

ISSN: 1355-2511

Article publication date: 30 May 2008




The aim of this paper is to describe the most important occupational risks in maintenance operations.


This study analyzed all maintenance‐related fatalities since 1985 together with one group of severe accidents in Finland. In connection with the study, risk assessments were carried out in companies with the aim of charting the risks on sites.


The results indicate that the typical risks in maintenance operations involve poor ergonomics and that the most severe risks among these can lead to direct injury. Severe or even fatal injuries are mainly caused by crushing or falling.

Practical implications

To manage the risks, maintenance operations should be taken more carefully into account when designing and reconstructing machinery and work environments. It should be ensured that workers have relevant safety knowledge by means of risk assessments and instruction in safe working practice. In addition, safety cooperation with the customer is essential.


The findings indicate that maintenance operations include certain occupational risks. Among such risks, subcontracting offers a specific challenge to the service provider's safety management. The findings of this study provide advice on the safety measures necessary for accident prevention and how to execute them.



Lind, S. and Nenonen, S. (2008), "Occupational risks in industrial maintenance", Journal of Quality in Maintenance Engineering, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 194-204.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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