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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

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Beckwood Press Co. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters Triform

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc.

LASER TECHNOLOGY

Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. Mazak Optonics Corp. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC MC Machinery Systems Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

BEVELING

Murata Machinery, USA, Inc. Davi Inc. Striker Systems
Steelmax Tools LLC TRUMPF Inc.

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

COIL PROCESSING

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Bradbury Group MTS Sensors Rolleri USA

STEEL

Burghardt + Schmidt Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial Automec Inc. BLM Group
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies SafanDarley

WATERJET

Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

PUNCHING

Barton International

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc. Behringer Saws Inc.

WELDING

Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company

 

MetalForming Inc.

 

 

 

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

 

 

 

Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

 


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