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Make sure everyone knows through your working instructions and training that they recognise nonconforming items through tags, labels, marking, segregation in well-marked quality control segregation or quarantine areas.These areas can be laid out on the floor with special marking, or just be a box for smaller items provided it is suitably marked.Whichever method you choose it must be secured for nonconforming items only.

I remember working with a Maintenance Superintendent for a freight forwarding company who had the job of isolating and identifying nonoperational forklifts. They were removed to a corner with a small (grubby) tag marked ‘DO NOT USE’ attached to each one. Unfortunately, during the night shift. operators would decide that they needed an extra forklift. or another forklift would go out of action, and they would take one of the deficient forklifts back into operation. Much curs­ing and frustration occurred the next day as the unfortunate Maintenance Foreman had to waste time tracking the wherea­bouts of the missing forklifts.

Of course, the identification was inadequate for the job it was supposed to do. We devised a much larger identification: a big tag with a skull and cross bones and the words ‘DAN­GER DO NOT MOVE!’ The tag carried a serial number (be­cause it was a controlled document), a Work Order number and a brief account of why the machine was out of action (leaking oil, gears seized). As soon as the machine was re­ported out of action (usually by the operator), the Foreman or other authority would attach the tag, after obtaining a Work Order number from the Repair Shop Work Order Log. The tag would carry an NCR number so that the item would be absorbed into the quality system, with corrective action.

We made it as simple as possible for employees to understand and respect the status of the ma­chine as soon as they looked at it. Too often people will sim­ply not follow procedures if they are not presented in suffi­ciently dramatic or sizeable terms to attract attention, espe­cially when they are in a hurry, or working under extremely difficult conditions.

 

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