Tool control and tool accountability are requirements of many a workplace, and they’re as much to do with the efficiency of processes as they are health and safety. If, for example, a tradesperson knows where a particular tool is at any one time during work, then they can rely on that tool being at hand when needed (which reduces the time spent scrambling around for said tool). It also reduces the chance of an accident; i.e stepping on a powertool and causing a terrible injury. For this reason alone, tool safety and tool organisation is very important.
In this article we’ve revealed the five industries in which tool control is vital. Take a look.
In the aviation industry, it’s vital that workers reduce the chance of tools going astray. When you’re up in the air, the last thing you want is tools going astray! On a more serious note, according to the Civil Aviation Authority’s Tool Control & Accountability Policy, the following mandates are required:
“(a) All tools and equipment that are required to be controlled in terms of servicing or calibration by virtue of being necessary to measure specified dimensions and torque figures etc, should be clearly identified and listed in a control register including any personal tools and equipment that the organisation agrees can be used.
(b) The control of such tools and equipment requires that the organisation has a procedure to inspect/service and, where appropriate, calibrate such items on a regular basis and indicate to users that the item is within any inspection or service or calibration time-limit.
(c) A clear system of labelling all tooling, equipment and test equipment is therefore necessary giving information on when the next inspection or service or calibration is due and if the item is unserviceable for any other reason where it may not be obvious. A register should be maintained for all precision tooling and equipment together with a record of calibrations and standards used.
(d) Inspection, service or calibration on a regular basis should be in accordance with the equipment manufacturers’ instructions except where the organisation can show by historical calibration and/or servicing results that a different time period is appropriate in a particular case.” (Source).
To summarise the above, the CAA requires those in charge of tool implementation in the aviation industry to;
a) ensure that all relevant tools and equipment should be organised and catalogued,
b) regular checks should be made to ensure all tools and equipment are present and in full-working order,
c) a clear labelling system needs to be put in place to facilitate communication between teams and, finally,
d) the aforementioned inspections/checks need to adhere to manufacturers instructions.
Here are some snappier reasons for tool control being so important in the aviation industry (the following is relevant to other industries but they’re certainly applicable within aviation).
- Companies can reduce the time spent looking for misplaced/lost tools
- The potential for mistakes caused by lost or faulty tools can be reduced
- The financial and/or legal implications of health and safety breaches will be reduced
For the aerospace industry, the importance of tool control is just as important as in aviation. The subtle difference between the two is that of research within the aerospace industry. The standard and care of tools has an enormous knock-on effect for the industry and its collaboration with other sectors. Liaising with teams of scientists and engineers is made far more difficult with faulty or substandard work. If, for example, a company in the aerospace sector builds equipment to go into a testing/research facility, but it is shabbily constructed, then this causes a ‘domino effect’ with regard to that facility.
Fortunately for the aerospace industry, increasingly sophisticated solutions are coming into play, from electronic tool control systems to more rigorous testing processes.
Working in the military, the need for proper processes around tool accountability is even more pressing as it potentially endangers lives. In the Navy, for example, a tool PO is selected to operate a ‘shop’ whereby he/she can oversee all tools and the ways in which they are allocated throughout service. There is a logbook system, and a comprehensive inventory is created to ensure that all tools are accounted for.
The simple misplacing of a tool can have catastrophic consequences. If, for example, a plane goes down and a certain required tool cannot be found, then there would be serious consequences to that. In similarly grave circumstances, an awol tool could end up interfering with the machinery in an aircraft or engine.
There is a universal need for engineers to maintain good tool organisation, no matter which industry they’re in. We’re talking about the literal tools of their trade, so it’s no understatement to say that tool accountability is a top priority for engineers. As with most other industries where tool control is important, introducing proper organisation will reduce the time spent trying to locate misplaced tools (which then has a positive impact on a business’ productivity and bottom line). Again, there is a clear health and safety concern: if poor tool control leads to faulty or broken tools, this could result in dangerous equipment being installed in a customer’s home.
Believe it or not, tool accountability is high on the agenda for those in charge of manufacturing processes. There are rigorous preventative measures that reduce the chance of a rogue tool ending up in a customer’s packaging – which, as we’re sure you would agree, is highly problematic. There are electronic systems of logging tools and ensuring that only trusted and qualified operators can use the tools (these systems can also perform monthly audits of inventory). As with other industries, it’s clear why tool control is such an important consideration. It not only saves time and money, there is the potential to save lives.
For all industries, custom foam is the solution
We believe that custom foam inserts are a universal solution for tool organisation, allowing all operators to sufficiently prioritise the tools they need to ensure they’re always where they’re supposed to be.
For more information on custom foam, visit our dedicated custom foam inserts page. Alternatively, keep an eye on our blog as it’s regularly updated with all sorts of relevant information. You can also speak to a member of our team – they’re happy to chat!