Introduction to this document

Metalworking fluids maintenance checklist

Metalworking fluids (MWFs) are used to cool and lubricate work pieces when machining but they can cause ill health if not properly maintained. Use our checklist to control the risks.

What’s the problem?

Exposure to MWFs can lead to skin and lung diseases such as dermatitis, occupational asthma or hypersensitivity pneumonitis. These risks increase as the fluid deteriorates over time. If not properly maintained, MWF systems can become contaminated and generate high levels of bacteria, yeast and fungi. There can also be biocides introduced to systems to inhibit microorganisms and these can cause health risks if overused.

To control these risks you must maintain the quality and cleanliness of the MWF in your machines’ reservoirs. Use our Metalworking Fluids Maintenance Checklist to keep your system in optimum condition.

What’s covered?

The first section goes through the daily checks you should carry out to help you identify problems before they become serious health risks.

You should carry out weekly checks to ensure the MWF quality does not drop below the standards set by the manufacturer. Being able to identify changes or trends through this monitoring will be very useful as you compare your answers week to week.

Note. Some of these checks require precise readings to be taken using specialist equipment. These include pH levels using test strips, fluid concentration using a refractometer and testing for microbial growth using a dipslide. If in doubt speak to the MWF supplier.

The last section covers additional safety measures such as risk assessments for your maintenance work, along with the availability of protective clothing and the safe isolation of machinery. It ends by examining your arrangements for the recycling or disposal of fluids.