While a majority of lubricants (mineral oils) used in a production plant are presently derived from hydrocarbons or synthesized hydrocarbons, the developing trend to increase lubricant performance for specific applications is leading to the increased number of synthetic lubricants. These synthetic lubricants along with all lubricants (oils, greases, pastes, and assembly lubricants) can require special handling and safety precautions that require all individuals involved in lubricant related tasks to read and comprehend the manufacturer's material safety data sheets (MSDS). While most companies have a central location for the MSDS forms, it has been noted that many individuals that perform lubricant related tasks are not aware of the content and/or the associated safety requirements with the in plant lubricants.
Any personnel who are charged with the handling of lubricants should be trained in the hazards posed by lubricant products and the proper personal protection measures that should be taken. The proper personnel protective equipment (PPE) should also be readily accessible to these personnel. In storage areas, sprinkler systems or other fire suppression measures should be in place to reduce the risk of the potential consequences of combustion of lubricants. Since most lubricants are combustible, fire extinguishers should also be available in storage areas and should be of a type appropriate for fighting flammable liquid fires.