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Distributor's Link Magazine Winter 2019 / Vol 42 No1


52 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Robert Footlik Robert B. Footlik, PE is a retired Professional Industrial Engineer. With over 50 years’ experience as a Warehouse and Logistics Consultant to a wide variety of clients including Fastener Distributors, Bob has a wealth of valuable information for our industry and he is willing to share it. While Footlik & Associates is now closed, his expertise is still available to his friends and our readers. For friendly advice, a second opinion or just to start a conversation, he can be reached at PLANNING FOR PREVENTABLE DISASTERS In the previous article (Fall 2018) fire, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes and other disasters were discussed from a perspective of using check lists and preplanning to mitigate the disaster. Daily disasters are far more common. When you are busy and time is short facilities and equipment maintenance takes a back seat to the immediacy of customers demands…as well it should. But when the press of business lessens maintenance tasks all too often become an expense to be bypassed… until something catastrophic happens. Fastener Distributors are not immune to this effect. Without question the worst problems are safety related. Lack of Preventative Maintenance (PM) is not just a problem of someone unfortunately being injured. Today any accident can lead to intrusive and in depth visits by State and Federal Occupation Health and Safety (OSHA) teams, Environmental Protection Act (EPA) teams, unions, Workman’s Compensation investigators, criminal investigation/indictment and civil lawsuits. Even something simple such as waiting for several lights to burn out before replacing an individual lamp any can lead to a preventable accident. If an injury results the consequences will be severe and far reaching, especially if the victim is a visitor (customer, trucker, rep) who is not covered by your insurance or workman’s compensation. A secondary issue is that disasters usually occur at the most inopportune times. Leaky roofs aren’t a problem when the sun is shining but a huge inconvenience when it is raining on a busy day. Similarly just about the time you need the forklift is when a piece of discarded plastic will wrap around the wheels. CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE The best time to eliminate problems is before they occur, and a PM program is the most sensible approach. The old adage of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is dead. If it isn’t broken, keep it that way. This starts with training. Training for PM and Safety The warehouse crew has you outnumbered. If they are breaking things, putting forks through materials and walls, clipping the pallet racks with the back of the forklift and causing other problems faster than you can fix things the answer lies in a comprehensive training program to give them more pride in what they do…instilling a sincere desire to not just prevent accidents by themselves, but to also supervise each other. OSHA requires that every facility must be clean, neat, orderly and safe (Article 1910.22). This dictum can be translated into a usable program by introducing weekly, if not daily, training sessions. Topics can include fire prevention, fire drills, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), fork lift safety and the rudiments of housekeeping that the staff should have learned in kindergarten. There are many resources for trainers, videos, programs and speakers. For example, your local fire department or fire prevention bureau can train your staff and run drills to insure that everyone knows who to call, what to do and when to do it. Normally the cost is zero other than replacing any discharged fire extinguishers. Once a safety training program is up and running it is time to focus on specific areas within the building and overall property. CONTINUED ON PAGE 124



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