Foreign objects are one of the biggest risks to many pieces of equipment in a facility, which is why foreign object damage prevention should be such an important task. There are many different types of foreign objects that you need to be concerned with, and you also need to know what types of things within your facility are at particular risk.
With that in mind, go over the following top ten tips and tricks for foreign object damage prevention. These ideas will give you some great ways to help reduce the overall risk, and respond to potential problems properly to minimize any damage or downtime.
Improve Foreign Object Damage Prevention with these Ten Tips
1. Knowing what is at Risk
One of the most important things you can do is identify what in your facility is at risk from foreign objects. The following are some key items that you should be aware of, but in addition, it is a good idea to walk through your entire facility to look for other potential areas of concern.
Fans – Anywhere that there is a fan, whether for cooling or any other use, there is a risk that foreign objects will be sucked in and cause damage.
Humans – While often overlooked, people are at great risk from foreign objects. Items that get in your eye or are inhaled, for example, can cause significant injuries or may even be life threatening.
Belted Machines – Many machines use some sort of belt to move items along while in production. Foreign objects can get stuck on the belt itself or on the rotating wheels. This can cause a lot of damage that may take some time to fix.
Engines – Any type of engine that is used in the facility needs to be protected from foreign objects. Anything from a small engine on an indoor vehicle to a large jet engine must be taken into account when planning any type of foreign object damage prevention.
Computers – Most computers have several cooling fans in place, which can suck dust and other items into the computer. Over time, this can build up and cause overheating or other issues that can be damaging.
Making a list of all the items in your facility that are at risk of foreign object damage is very important. Once you have that list you can work on identifying steps on how to prevent this damage, will help to keep everything operating smoothly.
2. Warning of Hazard
One of the most important things you can do to help with foreign object damage prevention is to make sure everyone is aware of the potential risk. If there is a strong fan or engine in a room that may suck loose clothing, papers or other items into it, for example, there should be a warning sign.
Printing custom safety labels or signs and placing them at the entrance of the area will remind everyone to secure items before entering. This can go a long way in preventing items from being sucked into machines or other areas where they can cause damage.
3. Adding Filters for Protection
In many cases it is possible to install filters near areas where items may be sucked in. These filters are made to catch any foreign objects before they can enter an area where they may cause damage. Depending on the type of item that needs protecting, there are many different types of filters available.
In some cases, it will be necessary to filter out even the smallest items from getting through. In others, however, it is enough just to stop larger objects. Take the time to identify what you need and put up a filter to prevent that type of foreign object from getting through.
4. Changing Filters Regularly
In addition to just having the filters in place, you need to make sure they are changed frequently. When filters are used for longer than they are designed to, items can start to slip through. In addition, the fans or engines will have to work harder to suck the air through the filter itself. Over time, this can cause the machine to wear out more quickly than it should.
Filters typically come with instructions on how often they should be changed, so make sure to take note of when it is installed and when it should be changed. Some facilities use their industrial label makers (similar to this) to print off a new label to place near the filters to indicate when it needs to be changed. This can be a great way to help avoid allowing the filter to be in place for too long.
5. Watch for Animals
One major type of foreign object that can get into places and cause damage is animals. It is not uncommon to hear about power outages being caused by squirrels chewing through lines, or jets being damaged by a bird getting sucked into an engine on takeoff. These types of things are very significant risks, and need to be taken seriously.
Take the time to make sure you are doing all you can to keep animals away from your facility, and if you find that there are any in the area, get rid of them fast. Even a small animal can cause a lot of damage if they find their way into the wrong areas.
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Keeping your facility clean is one of the best ways to help with foreign object damage prevention. A clean facility won’t have nearly as many foreign objects that can find their way into areas and cause damage.
Having a skilled maintenance department that can help remove foreign objects before they cause problems will go a long way toward preventing issues. Depending on the type of facility you work in, this may require a lot of focus on specific areas to get the results that are necessary.
7. Use Personal Protection Equipment
Personal protection equipment, or PPE, can help to protect the people working in the facility from foreign objects. For example, wearing safety goggles when working in areas where wood is cut or sanded can help to keep your eyes safe from these foreign objects.
Identifying what type of equipment is needed, and making sure that it is available, will help improve the overall safety in your facility.
8. Frequent Inspections of Equipment
There are many times when a foreign object can get into a machine without being noticed. It may not immediately cause damage, but over time it will cause a lot of problems. For this reason, it is a good idea to inspect all machinery on a regular basis to try to find any foreign objects that may be present.
If anything is found, it can be removed to help keep the machine safe. Of course, you will also want to make sure you take steps to identify how the object got in the machine so that it can be prevented in the future.
9. Encourage Reporting
It is impossible for one person or even one team to identify all the possible areas where foreign objects may be getting into machinery or other items. You want to help encourage everyone in the facility to report any potential problems they see, so that they can be investigated and addressed properly.
10. Training is Key
Just like most types of facility improvements, you will want to provide training to everyone in the facility in order to allow them to more accurately identify and prevent risks. This training can include teaching people how to get involved with foreign object damage prevention within your facility.
When you can get your entire facility to work together, it is possible to virtually eliminate the damage caused by any foreign objects within your facility.