Lubrication Safety Practices: Do's and Don'ts

Paul Farless, Noria Corporation

  • >Do be aware of your surroundings at all times. Situational awareness as an industrial worker is paramount.
  • >Do perform proper Lock-Out/Tag-Out procedures when applicable.
  • >Do wear appropriate fall protection when relubricating overhung or hard-to-access machinery.
  • >Do use proper protective equipment when handling any lubricant or other hazardous materials such as mineral spirits, degreasers, aerosols, penetrating lubricants, etc.
  • >Do utilize the two-person lift method when moving large volumes of oil (generally in drums). Proper lifting techniques are a must. Bend at the knees, not at your hips; keep your back straight; drive your heels into the ground and keep your chin up. Utilize a hoist or mechanical advantage whenever possible.
  • >Do wear sturdy, non-skid footwear - steel-toed or safety-toed if applicable to the facility. Slips, trips and falls are the most common workplace injuries. When working with lubricants, the risk of slipping, sliding, tripping or falling is heightened.
  • >Do be aware of the nearest eye wash station or safety shower when handling lubricants or other hazardous materials.
  • >Do be aware of the nearest fire suppression equipment when handling lubricants or other hazardous materials - fire extinguishers, fire alarms, AFFF hoses, etc.

  • Don't goof around or conduct horseplay within the lube room.
  • Don't wear open-toed shoes.
  • Don't leave ANY lubricant container open to the environment.
  • Don't store used or waste oil in the lube room.
  • Don't eat in or around the lube room.
  • Don't perform non-lubricant-related activities within the lube room.
  • Don't store gasoline, diesel, kerosene or other flammable substances in the lube room.
  • Don't hold the grease gun coupling as you grease a component.
  • Don't reach into or past any machine guards.
  • Don't lubricate energized equipment unless the proper safety measures are in place to prevent injury, harm or death.
  • Don't drain the oil in a rotating gear box.
  • Don't smoke or have an open flame or spark nearby when relubricating.
  • Don't perform any lubrication or maintenance-related task on a machine unless the proper Job Safety Analysis (JSA) has been filled out.
  • Don't allow untrained personnel to perform lubrication tasks. Call Noria to get them the proper training.

You may have heard a lot of these before, but they still ring true whether you’re the oiler, the maintenance tech or just a helper. Safety should be a priority to each individual, not just each facility. I personally follow safety guidelines so that I stay healthy and fit to go do the things I love to do outside of work. I would hate to get hurt on the job and not be able to work or be there for my family if needed. So remember, when you are sitting in a long safety brief, that safety starts with you, and it is for you.

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About the Author
Paul Farless is an industrial service technician for Noria Corporation. His duties include collecting data and preparing reports for the engineering team. Prior to joining Noria, Paul worked as an aut...