Visual management helps improve maintenance practices and remove human error from the lubrication process.
by Patrick Fasse, Fluid Defense

OSHA Right-to-Know

Right-to-Know is an OSHA-regulated requirement focusing on the principle that workers have the right to know the fluids they may be exposed to in the workplace. Lubrication containers must be clearly labeled so that workers can identify what is in each container and be sure it is safe to handle. Since many companies may not have adequate labeling, the single solution of color coding offers an innovative, industrial-grade labeling solution for bulk storage to the point of application equipment. According to the OSHA website, companies can risk major OSHA fines for each violation. Right-to-Know compliance is essential to avoiding hefty penalties.

Color-Coded Systems Are Not Widespread

Visual lubrication systems create world-class lubricant storage, transfer and application processes that can be easily and effectively standardized across plant operations. However, not all color-coded systems are created equal. Some plants use homegrown systems that use colored paint or tape that may result in additional lubrication errors. Others use manufactured lubrication systems that only display small spots of color, which can be overlooked on a busy plant floor.

Identification labels are an important part of any visual lubrication system.

An ideal lubrication management system incorporates bright, bold coloration as an integral part of each component. The labels are unmistakable and can be easily integrated into any existing process. Look for multiple colors and shapes to make it easy to custom color-code simple and complex lubrication systems.

Each bulk storage tank, dispenser, transfer container, grease gun, label and fill-point tag should be customizable and designed for easy identification at a glance, even from a distance. Choose a system made from industrial-grade materials to ensure durability and guard against fading, allowing for years of accurate lubrication.

Standardized and Modernized Maintenance

Today’s sophisticated machines are more sensitive to lubricant contamination, which makes the case for color coding stronger. Combined with narrow profit margins, many companies cannot afford the risk of downtime because of improper lubrication caused by error or contamination. Modernizing and standardizing maintenance operations improves overall plant performance and demonstrates value with an easily measured return on investment. As plant processes advance, lean, automated maintenance processes are even more important, making color-coded systems a solution that maintenance processes need.

The value far outweighs the initial investment in the system. Color coding improves safety and morale by reducing hazardous mix-ups and the stress associated with a messy lube room. Together, these benefits help businesses remain productive and operate better overall—all with a relatively small investment in a color-coded lubrication management system.