We do talk about this a lot, but proper storage and handling of lubricants is essential to running an efficient business and reducing lubricant related problems and challenges. There are lots of benefits associated with improving storage and handling, and most of these improvements can be made very easily.

A dedicated lubricant storage space

One of the simplest ways to ensure that lubricants do not come into contact with other substances is to give them a dedicated space. This also allows you to design the space to maximise capacity and ensure everything is safely stored. A clean, tidy and well stocked lubricant store room is the first stage to improving lubrication efficiency, making it easy to find things and reducing cross-contamination risks. It should also go without saying that this space should be indoors or covered in a way that completely protects the products stored there. Contamination from external factors such as weather are a real risk if lubricants are not stored correctly, even if they are in sealed containers.

Correct and well maintained storage solutions

Another benefit of having a dedicated lubricant store is the ability to install dedicated racking, cupboards and bunded storage. Safety should be a key consideration when laying out any lubricant storage space. All products should be stored in properly bunded area. Bunds must be capable of holding 125% of the volume of the largest item stored on them, so it’s important to plan what products will be stored where. It’s also important to plan where products are stored if you are using shelving or tall cupboards. Your team should be able to easily access all products and heavy items should not be stored at height if they are to be manually moved. Any pumps should be well maintained with dedicated pumps or tubing for each product type. Trolleys or cradles used for barrel handing and moving should be well maintained.

Colour coded dispensing solutions

There are many benefits to dispensing solutions. They reduce the need to carry heavy containers around sites, reduce the occurrence of spillages and help reduce cross-contamination. By colour coding your oil containers, oiling points and dispensing equipment, you further reduce the risk of cross-contamination, and make it much simpler for lubricators to find the correct product for the application. It is important that all lubrication dispensing equipment is kept clean and well maintained, and that there is dedicated equipment for each product type. In larger industrial sites where there are multiple lubricants used across multiple machinery, the use of colour coded tags on equipment oil points and sumps can help ensure that the correct product is always used. We recommend matching the oil container colour to the equipment tag, and printing the product name on both. Equipment tags can be purchased in bulk reasonably cheaply, and can be applied as your lubricator goes about their daily and weekly tasks until they are all in place.

Waste oil management

While many companies have a neat and tidy oil store for their new lubricants, often the contamination risk comes from waste oil which is not properly labelled or disposed of. It is important for HSSE reasons that waste oil is efficiently and correctly disposed of. It is also good practice to dispose of waste lubricant packaging in the correct way. A number of companies recycle IBCs, barrels and small packs. Ensure that your waste oil and pack providers offer you the necessary certification for your disposals, as you will need them for audits and environmental surveys.

If you have any queries about legislation for oil storage and disposal, you can find the answers on the SEPA (Scotland) or UK Government websites. Alternatively give us a call and we will help you put a storage and handling strategy in place which suits your business.