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                        3 min read

                        How to create a machinery audit trail

                        How to create a machinery audit trail

                        The importance of maintaining comprehensive records for each of your machines cannot be overstated.

                        Having a clear and accessible machinery audit trail is essential for ensuring accountability, tracking equipment history as well as optimising safety and efficiency. In this article, we outline the definition of a machinery audit trail, discuss its importance and provide practical steps for creating one.


                        What is a machinery audit trail?

                        An audit trail is a documented history of activities related to a machine and its processes. A machinery audit trail will usually include a comprehensive log of maintenance activities, repairs, operator interventions, incidents and any other relevant occurrences throughout the machine’s life.


                        Why should I keep a machinery audit trail?

                        There are a number of practical reasons why you should keep an audit trail for your machine.

                        It’s an accessible machine history

                        Having a machinery audit trail promotes the creation of a readily available history book for the machine. This record serves as a valuable resource for operators, fleet managers and technicians, among others, offering critical insights into past issues, maintenance schedules and performance trends. By referencing the audit trail, key stakeholders can make informed safety decisions in relation to the machine, troubleshoot problems and identify areas for improvement.

                        It provides an overview of the machine’s life

                        A well-maintained and up-to-date audit trail offers a comprehensive overview of the machine’s lifecycle, from its first job to decommissioning. By documenting key milestones such as date of manufacture, machine configuration, major repairs and replacement of parts, your business can gain a deeper understanding of the machine’s usage, predicted lifespan and overall performance. These insights can enable proactive maintenance planning, reduce downtime and even improve the machine’s safety.

                        It increases efficiency

                        Machinery efficiency on the job site is critical. By keeping a meticulous audit trail, your business will have access to accurate and up-to-date information about each machine in your fleet to streamline maintenance processes. This will help to mitigate the risk of unexpected breakdowns, minimise administrative overheads and allow you to have a highly productive machinery workforce.


                        Why should I keep a machinery audit trail?

                        Now that you can see the benefits of implementing audit trails for your machinery, you just need to know how to build one. We’ve listed a few easy ways to create a machinery audit trail and make it as effective as possible.

                        Understand required documentation

                        Before creating an audit trail for your machines, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the documentation requirements specific to your industry or machine. Identify the essential information that needs to be recorded such as equipment specifications, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) handbooks, maintenance logs, risk assessments and pre starts. It is recommended you set standardised formats and procedures for recording this information to ensure consistency and compliance across all documentation where possible.

                        Store information digitally

                        Leveraging technology for data storage and management is essential for maintaining an efficient audit trail in this day and age. Consider using digital asset management platforms to centralise machinery information in one secure and easily accessible location. It is important, though, to ensure this data can be backed up and safeguarded against data loss and unauthorised access.

                        Record maintenance and servicing

                        Record all maintenance activities such as inspections, preventative maintenance and corrective repairs in your audit trail. When doing this, make sure you capture relevant details such as date and time, tasks performed, parts replaced and personnel involved.

                        Record operator competencies

                        Maintain records of operator training, certifications, licenses and competency assessments within the audit trail. Regularly update these records to reflect any upskilling or additional training completed by your operators, as well as any disciplinary actions taken against them or incidents that they have been involved in.

                        Record document approvals and acknowledgements

                        Implement procedures for recording approvals, acknowledgements and revisions on key documentation within the audit trail. This will provide you with clear information about which of your workers have read and understood the current documentation and those who haven’t.

                        Manage it effectively

                        Maintaining an effective audit trail requires ongoing management and oversight. Designate particular individuals or teams to oversee the audit trail creation, maintenance and verification processes. Implement regular audits and reviews to ensure the audit trail remains accurate and complete and ensure any discrepancies are fixed promptly.

                        Automate processes

                        Automation can streamline audit trail creation and maintenance, reducing the labour-intensive work required by your staff. Consider automating components of your audit trail such as capturing date stamps, or sending notifications to key stakeholders once a document has been approved or uploaded.


                        Need more information about audit trails for machinery?

                        The team at Plant Assessor is here to help! Contact us today on 1300 728 852 or for more information and guidance on implementing machinery audit trails in your business.



                        Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information.

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