What is FOD?

In many workplaces it is not uncommon for people to talk about “FOD.” While the acronym FOD has many meanings in various different settings, it most commonly means ‘Foreign Object Damage’ when you hear it in a manufacturing setting. Foreign object damage is any type of damage that is caused when a foreign object enters a system.

Examples of FOD

If a machine is used in the manufacturing process, it is important to keep all foreign objects out of it. If a piece of metal is accidentally placed in a machine, for example, it can result in damaging a cutting arm, ruining the gears, or causing any number of other issues. The damage could be enough to shut down the machine entirely, or it might simply cause the products being made to have a defect of some sort. Either way, FOD in the workplace needs to be avoided. It isn’t just manufacturing facilities where FOD can cause a problem. In the aviation industry, for example, FOD could occur if a bird gets sucked into the turbine of a jet. Depending on the situation, this could be a small problem for the jet (though a large issue for the bird), or it could be enough to require an emergency landing. Even in a home there are examples of foreign object damage. Most people who have central air conditioning units know that the system uses a large fan in the unit outside the home. If an animal or other foreign object gets into the fan, it can damage it when it turns on.

Avoiding FOD

No matter the situation, steps should always be taken to minimize the risk of foreign object damage. This type of damage is often unexpected, and can be extremely costly to repair. Any area that is at risk of FOD should have screens or other protective items installed to keep objects out of the area. In addition, making it a policy to not bring any foreign objects into a sensitive area is also a good idea. While it isn’t always possible to eliminate the risk of FOD, understanding what it is and taking steps to prevent it is very important.


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