Industrial Lubricants in the Workplace Best Safety Practice

Health problems resulting from contact with lubricants are relatively rare and occur mainly in cases where there is a considerable degree of prolonged contact.

Naturally, however, as with all types of chemicals, some tend to be very sensitive hyperalergic lubricants or lubricant components. This is similar to developing common skin rashes in some people after eating strawberries or tomatoes, while the vast majority enjoy these foods on a regular basis without harmful effects.

Various forms of skin irritation and more serious diseases like cancer, has been associated with light refined petroleum products such as soot, oil shale and coal tar. Lubricants containing lead soaps present a particular risk, because this form of lead is absorbed through the skin.

In industries where there are prolonged contact with lubricants and oil treatments or fine mists, good practices can virtually eliminate any health problems to the operator.

Some simple precautions can provide highly effective protection. These precautions, which are presented below, are desirable, regardless of the type of cutting oil, lubricating oil or grease in use, or the industrial applications:

flaps, vents, etc.

Operators should be encouraged to keep all the passive safety devices maintained correctly to ensure minimal long-term exposure to lubricants


When continuous and direct contact with lubricants is unavoidable, clean (and regularly cleaned), coveralls, waterproof aprons and gloves should be encouraged.

Washing facilities

Proper washing facilities are to be provided, including a non-solvent type of soaps, creams and degreasers.

First Aid

Workers should have ready access to first aid and medical emergency literature.

Fire Safety

Despite the fact that oils and greases do not light as easily as most people believe, careless manipulation (sparks, smoke, poor drainage or lack of cleaning, poor maintenance of machines leading to overheating) can cause lubricants to catch fire as easily as wood or paper. In the interest of safety, fire fighting and testing devices must be kept in good condition and easily accessible areas. Advice should be sought from your local fire department.

Dispersion and spills

In the event that a spill or leakage is inevitable s commonly found oil-absorbing material with high absorption capacity is especially recommended for use. Do not use flammable sawdust or other materials to mop up because they can present a serious fire hazard and increase the risk of slipping.

Environmental responsibility

Oils and lubricants must be well removed and not placed directly into drainage systems as this can present a serious risk to the environment. Lubricants must be disposed of safely and appropriately. Consult your local environmental legislation for relevant provisions that apply in your country. Lubricants should not be dumped at random and without thinking about the sometimes irreversible damage they cause.

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