by OUR STAFF
Foreign Object Damage is a problem that should be on everyone’s radar, whether on the runway or the machine shop floor. A great way to make FOD prevention a priority, and to assure that your employees are doing all that they can to prevent FOD, is to identify areas that are particularly sensitive to FOD incidents and enhance your processes to prevent FOD in these areas.
FOD Sensitive Areas
To begin upgrading your processes to prevent FOD, start by identifying areas that are particularly sensitive to FOD. This will vary based on your individual work environment, but in aviation environments it generally includes the hangar, runaways, and areas where aircraft are being repaired. In a factory, it might be the assembly and packaging areas. Make a list of these FOD critical areas. It is these areas upon which you will focus your FOD prevention efforts.
Strategies to Prevent FOD Incidents in Sensitive Areas
1. Clearly Delineate the FOD Sensitive Areas
Start by delineating your FOD-sensitive areas. Depending on your setup, this may be done with simple tape or painted lines, or it may require building new dividing structures. Make sure that the FOD-sensitive areas are marked clearly as such. This simple marking, on its own, will remind employees to make FOD prevention a priority when inside these lines.
2. Enforce Clean-As-You-Go Policies Within These Areas
Extra junk laying around work areas greatly increases the likelihood of a FOD incident. It also makes it harder for employees to work safely; they are focused on navigating around the debris rather than performing their tasks in the safest manner. Adopt a clean-as-you-go policy, and enforce it well. Discipline employees who don’t adhere to the policy if needed, and use signs, meetings, and email reminders to keep employees in compliance.
3. Ban Food and Drink in FOD Sensitive Areas
Do not allow employees to eat or drink in the FOD-sensitive areas. Eating and drinking not only results in potentially harmful debris, but it also takes employees’ minds off of their work, potentially just long enough for an incident to occur. Remind employees of this policy regularly, and post signs that denote the ban.
Make it easier for employees to adhere to this regulation by providing them with a comfortable place, outside of the FOD-sensitive area, where they can eat and drink during breaks. Ensure that your employees are taking their breaks regularly; this not only prevents them from grabbing a snack while on duty, but also keeps them focused and refreshed so that can work more safely.
4. Create FOD Barriers
Physical barriers are also very helpful in your processes to prevent FOD. Examine your current structure, and identify areas where your barriers are missing or inadequate. Replace these barriers, or install more barriers, to physically prevent foreign objects from infiltrating FOD sensitive areas. Pay attention to overhead walk ways and stairways – items dropped from these areas can easily cause problems and be difficult to locate.
Adopting these processes to prevent FOD may take a little time, but it’s well worth it in the end. Effective FOD prevention saves you time and money, so it’s important that your efforts are company-wide and well enforced.
Want to learn more? Contact us for guidance on developing your FOD prevention program.