Good housekeeping in the workshop

Pat Callabyin Machinery & Mechanics
Is your workshop a mess? Are there slippery patches of oil, water or blobs of grease on the floor? Head gaskets tucked behind electrical conduits? Tidy equipment
Are there trip hazards such as jacks, axle stands, welders, gas bottles, grass boxes, laying down boards, spare wheels, oil jugs, gallon containers, small machines waiting for repair, boxes of parts waiting to be unpacked, dead batteries waiting for disposal, electric leads trailing around, extension leads on reels, oil trolley(s), battery chargers, waste oil or fuel filters, seats off golf carts, backlapper or a space heater waiting for colder weather?
Do you have the vice fully open but not being used; cupboard doors or draws open?
Do you have spark arrestors/guards on your bench grinder, eye protection/goggles on display near grinders and gas welders, all the relevant warning signs about wearing this and is that on display?
Is your grinding equipment clean and ready for use with a brush too hand to clean up steel dust? Is the floor painted in the main work area and reasonably clean?

ShelvingIf the answer is NO to all of the above then you are in a right mess, if the answer is NO to most of the above then you are in a mess, if the answer is NO to some of the above then things can easily be improved. Whatever applies to you, you are the one to put it right and it is your responsibility to ensure the workplace is safe. If you work in a mess then your workshop will be treated as a tip by others, cardboard cups/coke cans left on the bench or window sill, cigarette butts squashed on the floor, fruit pips spat out on the bench etc. etc.

For a start you can empty the bin(s) at least there will be somewhere to put your rubbish in, next go round the workshop and bin all the rubbish except that which is categorized as hazardous, next collect all the hazardous rubbish and put in their relevant containers, we all do it, change a fuel filter and leave the spent one on the bench, fit a new grease cartridge and do the same, before long there is quite a collection. Oil or fuel contaminated rags or tissue can accumulate as well but should be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Have a thorough sweep up, clean the grease blobs off the floor and generally prepare it for a coat of paint, choose a colour that allows things to be found that drop on the floor, don't turn the workshop into the Black Hole of Calcutta but at the same time don't choose a colour that requires you to wear sunglasses in mid winter, a light gray is good, but for economy you could mix all the part pots of paint you have found lurking in corners while tidying up and lighten it with white.

For the actual painting you need to choose a time that allows it to dry at least overnight but preferably longer, Friday afternoon is good if your not working Saturday. Buy a cheap roller without a tray and pour the paint directly on the floor in lines spreading as you go, keep the coat fairly thin to aid drying time and don't allow "puddles" to form in low spots or areas of damage, go right up to the walls but be tidy not sloppy, try not to paint yourself into a corner.
When the paint has dried you can then mark your floor so as to paint an area near the walls a different colour to park your axle stands, jacks, tub of grease or any number of other things that must be on the floor rather than up on shelves. Make it your rule that from now on that is the spot where theTidy floor Marked areasjack is kept and that is where the stands are kept and stick to it, that way you will avoid trip hazards and maximize floor space, it will be more pleasing to the eye and look efficient because that is what it is. This painted "margin" of your workshop cannot be used as a repair area as it's too close to the wall, only the central area is used for repairs so utilize that which can not be used for anything else, as a nice Health & Safety touch the areas can be separated with "hatching" tape, yellow & black or red & white are readily available.

You can see from the pictures that not only equipment is separated but also storage bins are "behind the line", clearly defining the work area. By adopting this method you will find that your working space appears bigger because it is largely uncluttered. As it's always clear it is easily swept up and kept cleaner, giving a more pleasurable and efficient working environment.
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Machinery & mechanics