We've all heard the saying "Don't put off to tomorrow that you can do today." It's true in all areas of life, but especially handy to remember when thinking about any equipment leaks. If it's leaking – it's bad. If it's leaking slow now, it's not going to stop – it will get worse. No matter if it's chemical, water, gas or oil – it shouldn't be leaking and it's a problem.
Most of the time it's a quick, easy fix maybe an O-ring replacement for a couple of dollars. If you wait and let it become a giant problem it becomes a bigger fix – potentially a complete rebuild! We use and abuse our equipment for hours a day, so as the boss and as the technician you need to vigilant about checking your equipment. Speak up when something is leaking, get it fixed before the problem is something that can't be ignored.
It's easy to brush off a small drip and say "Eh, I'll get that next job." But I can't stress enough that the sooner you take care of the leak the easier it will be. Do yourself a favor, stay a little later and you'll find that maybe it only takes 5 minutes to clear up and not the 30 minutes you imagine it might take to plug the leak.
The next segment in our Chemical series deals with preventing chemical leaks:
Andrew Greess: Chemical spill. That was exposure, now I want to talk about chemical spills. The most important thing here is, you want to fix small leaks before they become big leaks. There are a number of points, I'll just bring them all up here. Fluids, anywhere they're not supposed to be, are always a problem.
If you look at your truck and there's liquid, and it's not supposed to be there, it's a problem and you need to tell someone. I don't even care if it's a little bit or a lot. I don't care if it's chemical, or water, or gas, or oil. If it's on your vehicle and it's not supposed to be there, it's a problem.
Equipment problems never go away by themselves. Problems always get worse. Have you ever had a leaky faucet at home? When it's one slow drip, I can live with that, but it's not going to stop. It's not going to go away. You can hope all you want that it's going to fix itself. It's not going to fix itself and eventually it's going to get worse.
When my faucet is dripping one drip at a time, I can ignore that. That's nothing, it doesn't cost me anything, but when it's a steady stream, now it's costing me money, I've got to fix it. It's the same thing.
Your faucet at home, it's clean water, it's in your air-conditioned home, it gets used a couple of times a day, it's under low pressure, but think about your vehicle now.
It's in the sun, it's got harsh chemicals, you're using it hard, 8, 10, 12 hours a day. It's under much higher pressure, it gets abused and misused, and it's bumping down the road. Those problems are always going to get worse.
The thing about problems is, little problems are generally fast, and easy, and cheap to fix, and big problems always take longer and cost more, and so if you don't fix it, it's going to cost more, and it's going to take longer.
The key point here, if you're the boss, if you're the technician, you've got to raise your hand and tell the boss, and if you're the boss, you've got to make sure your technicians are comfortable telling you about problems. We see this all the time. We'll have a technician come in and, for example, their backpack is just covered with chemical.
We say, "Well, how long has this been leaking?" "A couple of weeks." "Well, why didn't you bring it a couple of weeks ago?" "Well, I was busy," or, "I didn't have time," or, "I didn't want to...You know, the boss told me we're tight on money and I didn't want to ruin his day," or, "her day."
A little problem could be changing an O ring, but if you don't address it, now it's a complete rebuild, so from a little problem that was fast and cheap, we now have a big problem that costs a lot more to fix. Does that make sense? We see that one all the time. Techs will live with problems that just shock us that they live with them.
If you missed the first videos in the series, please check out those blog posts here:
You can also check out the slides from the Spray Equipment Safety Seminar here:
For more information on Andrew Greess, visit https://www.qspray.com/