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Training & Education

Spot-on safety

By Lauren Duensing

Raising awareness and teaching appropriate product usage provides productivity gains

FFJ 0519 training lead2May 2019 - From wearing personal protective equipment to ensuring machines are maintained, safe working practices should be the first priority in a manufacturing facility because just one slip-up can cause a serious accident.

“Grinding and wire brush products are very safe and effective tools,” says Rick Hopkins, senior product manager, metal fabrication, for Weiler Abrasives. “When used improperly, they can be dangerous. My best analogy is a pocket knife. It’s a very safe and effective tool. But, when a pocket knife is used as a screwdriver or a pry bar, it can become a dangerous instrument.”

To minimize mistakes and accidents, Weiler is reaching out and engaging its customers with safety training based on the SPOT methodology (speed and size, pressure, orientation and time). The SPOT program launched in 2014 but was built on a framework the company had already offered to customers on a small scale. The goal of SPOT training is to raise awareness of fundamental safety practices and get operators thinking about safety at all times.

Learn and improve

On a basic level, SPOT consists of on-site classroom training, a safety video, proper instruction on power tool and consumable usage, a safety SPOTer rewards program, and a certificate of completion. The training is customizable, with “several different levels, anything from specific product application training and product recommendations to ergonomics training.

“To cover OSHA compliance, we require about 25 minutes,” continues Hopkins. “It is very important to ensure that every single attendee hears and sees the exact same message given in the exact same way. The easiest way to do that is through video, so we have a 15-minute video as a brief introduction.”

After the video presentation, Hopkins kicks off the discussion portion of the training by using some live product, pulled directly off the manufacturing floor, for demonstration. “I’ll talk to them specifically about wear patterns, failure modes and the way the product is designed to be used.”

A 25-minute discussion is typical, but Weiler’s people can also conduct multi-day, multi-shift training, even bringing in offline grinding stations to show new hires the basics of power tools, ergonomics, cutting and grinding techniques.

Safety comes first, of course, but Hopkins adds that the SPOT program provides the additional benefit of improving daily operations. “Optimal product performance and safe operation of the product are closely tied together. If we can get operators to really start thinking about using the product safely and as it was designed to be used, they can’t help but notice a significant increase in performance.”

Changing perspectives

Hopkins conducted a SPOT training at one large facility where management was concerned about an excessive amount of product usage. “As usual,” he recalls, “I went into the facility the day before, and I started walking through and going through their trash. I pulled out completely unused product that operators had been throwing away.

“Perception is reality,” he continues. “Operators really believe that the product isn’t working for them, and nine out of 10 times if the product doesn’t seem to be doing the job they expect it to do, they are going to do one of two things: they are going to push harder, which is counterproductive, or they are going to take the product off and throw it away.”

Hopkins stresses the non-confrontational nature of the SPOT training. He speaks very generically to best practices so none of the operators feel put on the spot. “I walk operators through exactly what to look for and how to expect a flap disc, or any product for that matter, to be used. Often, at the end of the training, I have two or three guys who come up to me and say things like, ‘I didn’t know a flap disc was designed to be worn until you could see glue through the flap’ and ‘I never realized that I was supposed to be looking at my flap disc to make sure the whole width of the flap is being used.’ As soon as they know and they give it a try for themselves, they feel a difference in the way the product performs.”

Within 90 days from the SPOT training, the aforementioned facility had resolved many of its concerns and reported a 40 percent reduction in consumable use. “As a manufacturer, we want our users to get the most out of their abrasives because that’s when they stop looking for better solutions.”

The SPOT program teaches operators how to become more efficient workers, contributes to productivity and decreases costs, making it a win for everyone involved. “It’s not about right and wrong,” Hopkins notes. “It’s about optimal use—understanding how the products were designed to be used and how to adjust some simple things to make them more effective.” FFJ

Sources

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SecturaSOFT

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group EMH Crane Rolleri USA Nidec Press & Automation
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc.

PRESS BRAKES

STEEL

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial AMADA AMERICA, INC. Alliance Steel
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

Automec Inc.

TUBE & PIPE

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies MC Machinery Systems Inc. BLM Group
Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

SafanDarley HGG Profiling Equipment Inc.

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc.

PUNCHING

Prudential Stainless & Alloys
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit Hougen Manufacturing

WATERJET

Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc.

SAWING

Barton International
Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. Behringer Saws Inc. Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

Cosen Saws Omax Corp.
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. DoALL Sawing

WELDING

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MetalForming Inc. HE&M Saw American Weldquip
Beckwood Press Co.

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

Savage Saws Strong Hand Tools
Triform Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

T. J. Snow Company

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