"What are the best ways to qualify personnel for performing lubrication tasks?"
Hiring the right people for the job is an age-old problem that has plagued employers for centuries. In today’s society, finding an individual who is hard-working and dedicated and who takes pride in his or her work can be challenging.
Many employers use mechanical aptitude tests to weed out candidates for maintenance positions. These tests consist of different exercises in which the candidate comes to a conclusion by methodical thinking. This type of testing has proven to work for finding individuals who have the mental capabilities for problem-solving. Work ethic, communication skills and dedication usually are screened during the interview process with certain lines of questions that are asked of the candidate.
It can be difficult when hiring outside the company for a new or existing lubrication position because most organizations don’t fully understand reliability or what the objective is. While they might look for an individual who can pass mechanical aptitude testing and has good verbal communication, they may not seek someone who tries to eliminate problems instead of just fixes them.
Lubrication technicians should possess a number of qualities, such as verbal communication, mechanical and computer skills, as well as accuracy, time management, open-mindedness and a willingness to learn. They should also be analytical, detailed-oriented, motivated, efficient, logical and practical. These cover the majority of the individual traits an effective lube tech will need. Unfortunately, no test currently exists for qualifying a person to be a good lube tech.
If hiring from within your organization, search for individuals who stand out and are willing to write work orders for the problems they encounter on a day-to-day basis. However, be mindful that they also will need all the other necessary skills to excel in a lubrication role.
Create a list of questions to test the individual for the different scenarios they may encounter and how they would deal with them. For example, if you check a gearbox and the oil level is at the low-level line, how would you handle this? An appropriate response would be to create a work order stating that the oil level is low and then follow up by topping off the oil level. By creating a work order, you now can track this gearbox and see if constant top-offs have always been a problem. Those who answer by saying, “I would top it off and check it again,” don’t necessarily fail but could use some help to develop a reliability mindset.
Once an individual meets the organization’s required criteria, training must then occur — or better yet certification. Those who request training and seek certification want to understand the task at hand and do a good job. While the person may not be a lube tech walking in the door, with proper vetting and training, the facility will soon have someone who can take its program to the next level of excellence.