Foreign Object Damage (FOD) is a problem that should be on everyone’s radar, whether on the runway or the machine shop floor. To prioritize FOD prevention and ensure your employees are taking all necessary precautions, identify areas particularly susceptible to FOD incidents and enhance corresponding processes.
FOD Critical 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
1. Clearly Delineate the FOD Critical and Control Areas
Start by delineating your FOD-critical 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 Critical Areas
Do not allow employees to eat or drink in the FOD control areas. Eating and drinking not only results in potentially harmful debris, but it also takes employees’ minds off of their work. It could potentially lead to incidents. Remind employees of this policy regularly, and post signs that denote the ban.
Provide employees with a safe place outside of the FOD-critical or control areas where they can eat and drink during breaks. This makes it easier for them to adhere to this rule. 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.
Provide employees with a safe place to eat and drink during breaks, making it easier for them to adhere to the FOD-sensitive zone rule.