Most Common Facility Issues Related to Risk Management
1/4/2013 7:39:00 AM
The next time you walk into your manufacturing plant, consider looking at it through a different lens
Not many plant execs or managers carve out sufficient time from their workday to focus on plant safety. They're usually too busydealing with production challenges, quality issues and hundreds of other time-consuming details. Their vision becomes myopic, which can lead to the forest for the trees syndrome, or the inability to spot small safety-related problems on the plant floor that they walk by every day. Yet, nothing is done, even though these issues can slow the plant down, shut it down or put it out of business.
Here are five areas that demand serious, ongoing attention by plant managers. Those who handle them correctly are more inclined to operate an efficient plant, offer a safe work environment, and reduce worker exposure to a variety of injuries.
How are materials staged? How are pallets stacked? What happens when machine oil or grease drips on to the floor?
There is no excuse for poor housekeeping or even a cluttered plant floor. It typically creates chaos and can impact production issues and overall business operations. Not to mention worker injury due to trip hazards.
To make sure your housekeeping is in order, consider applying 5S Lean, a Japanese-structured system that promotes a clean and well-organized workplace.
- Sort: Identify what equipment, tools or supplies are needed to perform daily tasks. Keep only the essential items in each workspace or station. The goal is to remove everything that'snot frequently used.
- Set: Every product or part needs a designated home or space. Consider using signage or even writing words on the plant floor, such as pallet jacks or trash, that identify areas for each item.
- Shine: Every employee needs to be responsible for returning items totheir proper area and maintaining a clean and neat workspace.
- Standardize:To enforce accountability, create standards or company policies that promote the 5S Lean concept and describe employee responsibilities.
- Sustain: Management and supervisors must observe the same policies, demonstrating self-discipline, so these practices are continued over the long haul.
- Flammable Liquids
How many open containers storing flammable liquids are placed on your plant floor? Are they all needed?
Some common chemicals with low flash points, such as toluene or methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), are stored in containers without lids or in intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) that are composed of plastic and encased by a metal skeleton. Understand how such containers can be breached. It doesn't take much to burn plastic, which can then lead to an out-of-control fire.
Try limiting the IBCs to two per workstation. If you can't use nonflammable liquids to perform the same job, create policies and specific handling and storage procedures for employees. Ensure the containers are also properly grounded. Likewise, bonding, the process that dissipates the charge, is also critical. All it takes is the right mixture of air â especially dry air during the winter months â vapor from the chemicals and an ignition source like sparks from a cutting torch to cause an explosion or fire.
- Sprinkler System
Is your system adequately designed for