Truck mechanical workshops use large quantities of oils. Over time, there is an inevitable build up of spillages to give the traditional image of a messy, dirty workshop environment. This is not desirable when working with diesel injection systems. A high level of cleanliness and precision is essential.
Several staff members of Rocklea Diesel Injection Service are also avid fishermen. They are aware that any oil spillage which leaks into the stormwater system eventually ends up in Moreton Bay affecting their recreational activities. To accommodate the economic and environmental requirements of a modern diesel workshop, they have changed workshop practices to improve both quality and environmental performance.
A business of this size changes around 100 litres of engine oil and transmission fluids each week. This large quantity makes transportation and storage of used oil a major problem. When kept in 205 L drums, the risk of spills increases: the simple act of pouring this quantity into the small holes of the drums leads to spillage, and a small spillage from each pouring into 20 drums per month eventually leads to a considerable build up.
Any small mishap around the workshop also has the potential to add to the problem. It isn’t only the threat of a major spill that keeps the staff alert. The workshop needs to be clean in order to keep the standard of work high.
To minimise the risk of spills, the used oil is stored in an underground tank and collected regularly for recycling. To pour the oil into this tank, a permanent funnel system was designed to avoid water entering the system, and manufactured inside the workshop.
The funnel is made of sheet metal, folded and soldered to seal the joints. A lip around the edge of the funnel minimises splashes when oil is poured in from the large collection containers.
As the tanks were already in place, the installation cost was small and the results quite noticeable. Even though no direct money savings were realised, the project resulted in:
- less oil being spilled;
- more oil being recycled;
- increased productivity;
- improved work quality; and
- improved occupational health and safety.
With a decrease in spills, there is less chance of creating environmental harm under the Queensland Environmental Protection Act (1994) and avoiding litigation and large fines. With the larger funnel opening, it is quicker and easier to dispose of used oil. The funnel is also big enough to leave used oil filters and containers inside, so that all oil can drain out.
A cleaner work place results in less jobs having to be 'reworked'.
This case study focuses on only one aspect of cleaner production in a workplace. Rocklea diesel uses many other techniques to maintain cleanliness and quality.
- drip trays to catch oil when working on vehicles;
- composting of garden waste; and
- metal recycling.