By Acculube, www.acculube.com
With all the moving parts in a manufacturing setting, handling the lubricants used in industrial machines and other parts seems fairly low on the "what to worry about" list. However, improper handling can have damaging consequences in the short and long term.
Hands and fingers are the most common bodily injury. But they aren't the only ones. Feet, eyes, skin, and other body parts can be injured from the improper use of dispensing equipment or contact with certain types of lubricants.
Grease gun safety
Grease is one of the most common ways to lubricate various machine components in all types of industries. Pressures from grease guns can operate in ranges of 6,000psi to 15,000psi depending on the type of gun. Basic safety guidelines can be implemented to ensure safe operation.
Treat the grease gun like an actual gun. Inspect grease gun hose and fittings, avoid pointing it at people and don't use your body to determine if the grease gun is operating properly. Make sure to wear the required PPE equipment when using grease or any other industrial lubricants.
Improper storage and handling of lubricants
Ensure lubricants and storage containers are properly labeled. Misuse of lubricants without proper identification can lead to potential health and safety risks. In addition, equipment malfunction or failures could follow due to improper labeling of containers. Accidents may occur during the handling and transportation of industrial lubricants within a facility. Inspection of containers, transportation equipment, and storage systems are all critical to reducing unnecessary hazards.
Spills (and Slips)
Lubricants spills can cause slippery surfaces, which if not cleaned up right away, could cause physical injury from a slip. Don't forget spills on unconventional surfaces such as ladders.
Improper application of lubricants could lead to premature component wear, machine downtime or catastrophic failure. Equipment and fill points should be properly labeled to identify the correct fluid in use. The operator should also verify the label on the container prior to dispensing fluid into equipment.
Always read and understand the machine manual’s guidelines for safe operation and proper maintenance schedule.
Lubricants are chemicals. Like other chemicals, whether naturally produced or man-made, prolonged exposure can cause conditions from contact dermatitis to cancer to lung damage from inhalation.
It is important to the end user of a product to review the safety data sheet (SDS) provided by the chemical manufacturer. Know how to read and understand the information provided on an SDS. The SDS pertaining to a particular chemical contains useful information such as the proper use of personal protection equipment, storage guidelines, toxicity, etc.
Keep safety data sheets in clear view...
Safety data sheets will disclose important information for your safety.
… And read them.
If you're an employee, make sure you read them!
Wear correct safety apparel.
Wear gloves and safety glasses or other PPE when handling greases or lubricants.
Respect the grease gun and storage containers.
Please take a moment to fully understand the safety practices implemented by your organization. If you don't understand, ask questions to familiarize yourself with the proper procedures.
Improper use and handling of lubricants can cause unexpected physical injury. Learn safe practices for your applications.