Oily floors in engineering workshop

For years a lot of the machines at a specialist engineering company had leaks which meant oil and sawdust continuously on the shopfloor.

Accidents reported by people slipping on the slippery floor were running at about 14 every year. For the size of the operation this represented quite a high incident rate.

What was done?

  • Oil Leak plan - a list of machines which had leaks was prepared for maintenance staff to fix. This list is updated each time a leak is fixed or another leak is reported.
  • Bunding - all machines with leaks which cannot be fixed (often older machines) have a metal bunding around the whole of the machine which collects all the leaking oil to stop it spreading across the floor.
  • Planned maintenance regime - each machine is serviced regularly and part of the service sheet is to fix leaks.

Benefits of the Oil leak plan

  • Slip accident rates have been reduced by about two-thirds.
  • The oil that is collected in the bunding is vacuumed out and recycled for re-use.
  • Oil usage has been significantly reduced where leaks have been fixed - a big cost saving and less oil needs to be stored on site.
  • Use of sawdust to soak up oil has significantly reduced.
  • Housekeeping is a lot better - a better environment for people to work in, improved motivation and they are more inclined to keep their work area tidy.
  • There is now a weekly housekeeping audit which is carried out and challenges supervisors of areas if they have machines with oil leaking onto the floor.
  • Environmental impact - the company has ISO14001 accreditation and audit results from the external auditor show a significant improvement in oil usage and oil leaks and risks of contamination.
  • There is an action & improvement scheme whereby employees can pick a problem/improvement and work on it as a team and implement it. If there are cost savings to the company then the team get 10% of the savings. Two of these worker initiatives have contributed to improving how oil leaks are dealt with which has made yet further improvements.

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