It’s vital that FOD is properly controlled in a manufacturing environment. Any FOD is a potential to cause damage to equipment, disrupt manufacturing timelines, and of course worst of all, risk employees’ (and perhaps clients’) health and safety.
FOD stands for both Foreign Object Debris and Foreign Object Damage, and neglecting to properly prepare and educate your team about FOD means that you’re more at risk of catastrophic damage from minor debris, such as gravel tracked in from outside, a button that has fallen off of someone’s shirt, or a discarded pencil.
With so many potential problems, how can we ensure our manufacturing environments remain clear of FOD?
5 Ways to Control FOD in Manufacturing Environments
“Clean As You Go”
CAYG (clean as you go) is the first step to ensuring no FOD is in a position to interfere with machinery. This is one of the biggest areas in which simple human error can cause serious problems, so ensure everyone involved understands the dangers of FOD and be aware that there is more danger of FOD when employees are tired. If your employees are on 10- or 12-hour shifts for multiple days, it may be a good idea to overlap your shifts so “fresh” eyes are there to back up those reaching the end of their workday.
Design the Production Floor Thoughtfully
Much of the potential for FOD can be eliminated by the thoughtful design of production lines and machinery, whatever the product being manufactured. Reducing open housing areas and where applicable making sure that the product itself does not include sections which cannot be reached for checking and cleaning. Assembly areas should be easy to inspect regularly and tool and component storage meticulously organized and labeled.
Consider Dedicated FOD Management
Managers must prioritise the importance of a FOD plan for the whole facility, with regular FOD checks undertaken by a designated FOD officer who can oversee the daily running of the manufacturing process. Staff training and meetings will need to be arranged at regular intervals to ensure this meticulous attention to detail does not lapse.
Increase Employee Awareness
Beyond CAYG, make sure you increase employee awareness with training, signage, and open lines of communication. A dress code is a must if you don’t choose a specific uniform, and you may consider labeling different areas for levels of FOD awareness. This may look like:
- FOD Awareness Area: where debris will not affect the product but good practice is expected
- FOD Control Area: where debris could have a safety impact
- FOD Critical Area: where FOD would have a serious impact on the production process and/or safety, and therefore strict procedures must be observed.
In some areas, floor tape and barricades to keep workers in or out of critical areas may be necessary. This all contributes to heightening workers’ recognition of the need for FOD control in all areas of the manufacturing process.
Spend Time Planning and on Record Keeping
Plans must be made and records regularly updated to cover every stage of the manufacturing process. In this way, FOD risks can be assessed for each area, regularly monitored and, if necessary, action taken such as reorganization, training, and practical improvements. Careful record keeping will ensure that all inspections are carried out and any problems can be properly investigated to continually improve standards.
The Importance of FOD Awareness
Problems caused by Foreign Objects can only be eradicated from the manufacturing process with the participation of all members of the workforce. Every employee needs to play their own part in keeping their area clean and tidy, looking out for potential areas of weakness, monitoring the equipment, tools, and the materials they use. Training will emphasize the importance of this for everyone involved. Workers in leadership roles need to be driving it forward through regular inspections and support.
For more on best practices in keeping your manufacturing and production areas clean and free of FOD, see the news and other helpful articles on our blog here.