Search Results for: Productivity

SCnSP – Bums on Seats

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2018
     

Bums on Seats

getting bums on seats at the right safety training does affect the bottom line positively

The Bottom Line

     

I’ve been thinking lately about the eternal question of the ROI (Return On Investment) for safety and safety projects in particular. My conclusion is that there is no direct ROI for safety. What one can expect is a reduction in incidents, resulting in a lowering of costs in terms of losses (medical and damages). Most industries and organisations use the rear-view-mirror approach to determine the ROI for safety projects using injuries, lives lost (fatalities) and, often, loss of reputation (safety record) as criteria.

However, the bottom line impact is not any of the above, but culture. Safety is part of the overall culture of an industry or organisation. Safety is not a stand-alone entity. Safety means doing things in a safe manner, doing it right, first time and every time, avoiding injury, loss and waste. Safety means engagement, it means ownership of the process, rules, operation and controls, amongst others. You cannot get safety right without rubbing off on other aspects of culture, like behaviours, teamwork, problem-solving, a bias towards action, productivity, quality and so on. That is why the real ROI for safety is its impact on the bottom line.

There are many ways in which the culture in an organisation is established. Leadership visibility, by living out the vision and values, especially in terms of safety, is one of the most important. Another one is education and training and, therefore, empowerment. It is imperative to get bums on seats, especially with safety training and, again, here leadership support is imperative.

At Disruptive Safety, we focus on the frontline to influence the culture, by educating and empowering H&S Reps in terms of safety.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Dr Cathy Key, for inspiring this safety tip by her use of the line “Getting Bums on Seats, the Bottom Line”.
[www.confmanager.com]

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SCnSP – When is the safety battle won?

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Jul 2017
     

When Is The Safety Battle Won?

Engaging hearts and minds

Heart = OwnershipMind = Commitment

     

Many centuries ago, a Roman general was leading his legions towards the enemy in a swampy country. He knew that the next day’s battle would be fought on a certain plain because it was the only dry, flat place for miles. He pushed his army all night, marching them through a frightening and formidable swamp, so that they reached the battle site before the enemy and could claim the high ground.

In the aftermath of victory, the general called his troops together and asked them, “Brothers, when did we win the battle?”
One captain replied, “Sir, when the infantry attacked.”
Another said, “Sir, we won when the cavalry broke through.”
“No,” said the general. “We won the battle the night before – when our men marched through that swamp and took the high ground.” [1]

So, when is the SAFETY battle won?

Not when the rubber hits the road, or the airplane is at cruising height, or the construction is in progress, or the plant is operating on full steam. Not by analysing the statistics, reporting ‘near misses’ and investigating incidents. Not by paperwork and audits. Not by being reactive.

No … because by then it’s too late. All you can do then is police for compliance. I mean, can you imagine if the general in the above story had used that approach – having to check (audit) that his troops are actually fighting and using the correct combat tactics, rather than leading them in battle?

No. The safety battle is won long before any of the items mentioned above. It is won when we manage to get safety into the hearts and minds of all our people. It is won when we have succeeded in getting people to make safety a habit, in everything they do. Before they tackle each task, while they’re carrying out the task and after they’ve completed the task. It is won when the safety ABC is in place – individual safety Attitude, Behaviour, Choice. It is won when our people are no longer complying out of fear of being caught and disciplined or because the boss is watching. The safety battle is won when our people are thinking ‘Safety Assurance’ as part of the preparation for everything they do. It is won when individual perceptions of risk include thinking about consequences.

Finally, the safety battle is won when we all are looking at continuous improvement and best practices and sharing how to work smarter and safer. It is won when our people are not afraid of failing and treat every ‘near hit’ as an opportunity to improve productivity and safety.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

As safety professionals, we should strive to support the business by improving productivity safely!
We should be the first port of call when people are thinking of taking a shortcut or reporting a ‘near hit’ or ‘failure’. And it should be because they know and trust that we will help them do it safely, instead of blaming, and crucifying them for pushing the boundaries.
Safety Always.

[1]   Pressfield, Steven. The Warrior Ethos. Black Irish Entertainment LLC (2011). 978-1936891009.

ESSENTIAL LINKS

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GM – World Safety and Health Day at Work 2016

++  WORLD HEALTH  &  SAFETY AT WORK DAY  +  28 April 2016  ++
Mar 2016

What is your total cost of absenteeism? I know one of your dashboard figures is most probably injuries and damages, but subtract that from the total cost of absenteeism, and you’ll find that the remainder is the cost of wellness. Now you might say: “That’s not my problem, that’s HR’s problem”, but you’d be wrong. There’s a direct link between safety and wellness: employee health -> productivity -> injuries -> absenteeism  [1].

     

WORKPLACE STRESS:

A Collective Challenge

graphic depicting workplace stress

     

Some stats:

  • Absenteeism costs the SA economy around R12-16 billion per year.
  • On average 15-30% of staff could be absent on any given day. Take your annual salary bill and do the sums!
  • One day’s absence can cost a company 3 days’ worth of salary  [2].
  • 2 out of 3 employees who fail to show up for work aren’t physically ill. There are a whole host of reasons  [2], with stress and sleep disorders being the “top cause of lost work time”.

The theme for the upcoming World Safety and Health Day, on 28 April 2016, is:

graphic showing World Day for Safety and Health at Work - 28 April 2016

The abstract below, from the ILO site  [3], details the issue of stress very nicely. Your HR / Wellness people should be able to relate to this:

Today, many workers are facing greater pressure to meet the demands of modern working life. Psychosocial risks such as increased competition, higher expectations on performance and longer working hours are contributing to the workplace becoming an ever more stressful environment. With the pace of work dictated by instant communications and high levels of global competition, the lines separating work from life are becoming more and more difficult to identify. In addition, due to the significant changes labour relations and the current economic recession, workers are experiencing organizational changes and restructuring, reduced work opportunities, increasing precarious work , the fear of losing their jobs, massive layoffs and unemployment and decreased financial stability, with serious consequences to their mental health and well-being.

And it’s not only in the office but also in the plants, as highlighted in David’s story in the DHHS publication, “Stress at Work”  [4]:

The nature of work is changing at whirlwind speed. Perhaps now more than ever before, job stress poses a threat to the health of workers and, in turn, to the health organizations. For weeks David had been plagued by aching muscles, loss of appetite, restless sleep, migraine headaches and a complete sense of exhaustion. At first he tried to ignore these problems, but eventually he became so short-tempered and irritable that his wife insisted he get a check-up. He told the doctor: ‘Since the reorganization, nobody feels safe. It used to be that as long as you did your work, you had a job. That’s not for sure anymore. They expect the same production rates even though two guys are now doing the work of three. We’re so backed up I’m working twelve-hour shifts six days a week. I swear I hear those machines humming in my sleep. Guys are calling in sick just to get a break. Morale is so bad they’re talking about bringing in some consultants to figure out a better way to get the job done.’

ACTION

Here is your chance to do something about safety and health in your workplace.

I’m not putting any pressure on you (just giving you a gentle push) … 28 April is around the corner.  It’s an ideal opportunity for you to call me in to do my presentation addressing Safety and Workplace Stress. I’m your guy!  [5]

[1]   “Absenteeism Management“, OCSA

[2]   “Causes and Costs of Absenteeism in the Workplace“, Forbes

[3]   ILO: World Day for Safety & Health at Work

[4]   “Stress at Work“, CDC, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 99-101

[5]   Re-energise & sustain your safety, health & wellness efforts

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SCnSP – Ukuhlanya

♦♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦♦

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies and the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance. It’s time to tackle the  safety dilemma / paradox  of our times with a  disruptive approach to safety.

UKUHLANYA[1]

(Safety Paradox and Disruptive Safety)

How do you review your Safety Plan?

Let me give you some essential background before I suggest the actions.

It started when I realised that, for most of our plans, it is a case of insanity i.e. doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result[2].

Expectations have changed drastically, both for employers and employees. Employers expect more skills and competencies and at the same time more engagement and contribution from employees. Employees want more freedom in how they fulfil those expectations. It’s time to “acknowledge that the old method of productivity, of being a good employee by obediently doing what you are told, is obsolete. Our job is to figure out what’s next and to bring the ideas and resources to the table to make it happen.”[3]

graphic depicting lack of einspruchsrecht i.e. consultation

In addition, people have a much shorter attention span in these times of hashtags, selfies, iPhones and iPads. We have distorted the priority scale with the habit of responding immediately to the ring / tweet / vibration of the hand-held device. We have developed an attitude of “I want it and I want it now!” and people’s behaviour has changed accordingly. People are tired of posters, pamphlets and papers. The old systems of toolbox talks, presentations and preaching procedures no longer work that well. There is a new generation of employees who demand “einspruchsrecht”[4] and full engagement.

The Safety Dilemma.

In this age of disruptive change, we have to do things better, faster, cheaper and safer or risk going out of business. We have to have people on board who think and create safety improvements. We have to let them experiment – try it, fix it and make it work. We have to make information-enabling technology available so as to free them up to do what they do best, like thinking, creating, etc. The technology must engender independence not dependence, dependence being when you get what I call the “auto pilot syndrome” = pilots who can no longer fly themselves out of an emergency.

At the same time, we want people to manage the risks and to not take chances. We want people to look-to-see and listen-to-hear. So, we have to enforce our cardinal or lifesaving rules and, in the process, pile on a myriad of procedures, instructions and standards. For example, to avoid traffic accidents, keep to the left, drive a road worthy vehicle, be a competent, licensed driver and obey the road signs are non-negotiable!

Ultimately, for most, safety becomes a compliance issue: measure injury rates, deviations from procedures, near ‘misses’, non-compliant behaviour, etc. When the fear-based compliance manifests, we are unhappy. We want people to do the right thing because it is the safe thing to do, not because they’re going to be caught and / or fined.

We want to keep it safe and simple but we still need to be in control. It is a tough balance to strike.

Control contains a peculiar paradox.
The more you impose control, the less control you have,
because it removes accountability from someone who should own the responsibility in the first place
.”[5]

The Safety Plan.

In most organizations, there is a fear of failure and thus things take too long, changes are analysed to death, projects are too intimidating and the approval levels are far too high up the hierarchy. The end result is that people get ‘busy’ with activities like meetings, investigations, proposals, etc. which do not actually produce an outcome. At the end of the day, the “big change” project on the safety plan just gets stuck – the ‘elephant’ cannot move, despite the best efforts of the ‘rider’. The ‘path’ becomes muddied.[6]

To get around this, we need to shrink the changes into smaller, bite sizes and rally the herd to drive safety forward. If we can invent, launch and complete projects in days, instead of weeks or months, its way more likely that these projects will be more relevant at the plant / team level.

If you want your employees to get enthusiastic about safety, give them something ‘they can take home’ and be proud of = something they accomplished. One hundred small projects, completed at this level, are worth much more than one big project battling to get traction.

ACTION

  • Instead of a grand revision of your safety improvement plan, go for a  Just Do Something SAFE™[7]  safety culture. Get your teams / plants to create their own safety projects. Carry out campaigns themed on “any cause, anytime, anywhere” that are safety-related, within their means and can be completed within days.
    I am not going to give you a template or a hundred examples, as that defeats the object of you owning this disruptive safety approach. I will, however, share with you a few trigger ideas: paint the workshop floor, erect a handrail, review and renew safety signs, clean out the store room, spring clean ‘my own work space’ week.
    Your challenge is to rally the herd using suitable encouragement and recognition.
  • If the above approach is too disruptive for you, then review your safety plan, but do not use the “Moses Approach”.[8]
    Consult your key stakeholders in safety, including SHE Reps, at their place of work – a kind of “Road Hear” (not “Show”) or “lekgotla”. Get them to tell you about their safety expectations, key safety issues, any quick hits and what they want to see happen. These sessions should be facilitated by a skilled, independent person and the outcome should be communicated back to all stakeholders, within a week or two.

ps. I am able and willing to facilitate either of these actions for you and to share some tools and techniques to manage the process. (T&C’S apply)

REFERENCE

[1]   “Ukuhlanya” = “insanity” in isiZulu

[2]   Albert Einstein, German physicist (1879-1955)

[3]   Seth Godin – sundry, thought-provoking posts

[4]   “Einspruchsrecht” = “the right of people to partake in decisions which affect them”, a German expression

[5]   “Beyond Management”, by Etsko Schuitema

[6]   Analogy from “Switch”, by Chip and Dan Heath

[7]   Spring-boarding on DoSomething, which is a stellar success, a fast-growing non-profit that’s engaging with millions of young people around the world.

[8]   “Moses Approach” = where leaders huddle together in the boardroom to work out the new vision, strategy, plan or some other directive, based on assumptions, and which they expect the troops to eagerly embrace without having been consulted about what is actually required.

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SCnSP – Safety First … Really?

♦♦♦   SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE   ♦♦♦

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies. One of the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance is to assist our frontline managers as they strive to pilot for success on the wings of safety.

SAFETY FIRST … Really?

The Frontline Influence on Safety Culture

Wherever I go, I hear Safety First. I have yet to come across a company where people will say safety comes second or, heaven forbid, last. They all say safety comes first, because it is the right thing to say, especially in a formal audit. It is also the message that you find in the mission statements, values and other directives generated in the board rooms.

But, what happens, there, where the cookies are made and the rubber hits the road? Does safety come first at the coal face and on the shop floor?

Often, in reality, at the heat of the furnace or in the back alleys of the factory or at the thumping production press or deep underground at the end of the night shift, safety does not come first. For those people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ and those who directly manage them, it is a different story. Safety has to compete with many other issues and priorities.

You might be thinking, “Has Jürgen gone nuts? Is this man who lives and preaches safety making concessions?”

Let me explain.

In most companies, there are a multitude of thrusts (often 20 or more) pushed down the organisation to drive the business forward – output, costs, quality, productivity and continuous improvement, personal performance and empowerment, research and development, to name but a few. Then there are compliance issues, laws and regulations, systems and procedures and hundreds of rules and standards, plus the need for accreditation and branding. Each department in head office, including Safety, issues instructions, requests for information and sundry other requirements. All of this has a direct and overwhelming impact on frontline managers and their teams. One of the most frequent complaints I get from this level is that they are ‘forced’ to manage on their seats instead of on their feet and that output and costs are most important!

"First and second line managers are the critical links in bringing a company’s culture to life. At Pfizer, these frontline managers strongly influence the day-to-day working environment of about 80 percent of colleagues."[1]

I could not agree more, especially a company’s safety culture.

The best way to describe the job of the frontline manager is to compare it to that of a surgeon. The surgeon cuts open the patient on the operating table to remove a tumour. He/she has to keep an eye on the vital signs, watch out for bleeding, make instant decisions and balance all the options. There is no time to read the manual and there are no second chances.

In a similar manner, safety is just one of many concerns that the frontline manager needs to take into consideration. This means that we have a responsibility to help the frontline managers to manage the total risk and balance the priorities within the limited resources at their disposal. Why? Simply because, often, when safety is held in the balance against, for example, production, it is the safety ball that will be dropped as it is perceived to have the least direct consequences. This is a tough call for us safety professionals, especially when it comes to influencing and supporting the safety culture at the frontline.

For many years I have used the analogy of an airplane to illustrate to the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ how all these business elements, including safety, need to work together in order for the company to prosper.

picture of an airplane showing how various business elements work together for prosperity

The engines are those things which drive the business forward and result in profit. These are normally Output, Costs, People, Continuous Improvement and the like. Depending on the kind of business, sales & marketing, research & development and customer service & support also add to the profits. The key message here is balance in the thrust provided by all the engines. You cannot fly if you put all the power on say the Cost engine and throttle the other engines in the process.

The airframe consists of the wings and the fuselage. The wings represent safety and support the engines. The wings have to be strong and flexible at the same time. In addition to that, the wings provide the lift, critical for the plane to remain airborne and reach a safe cruising level.

Safety does not directly contribute to profits,
but it supports all those activities that do
.

The fuselage consists of those items which you will normally find in the company’s values and mission statements. These include Quality, Care & Respect, Fairness, Honesty & Integrity, Communication, Teamwork, Excellence, Accountability & Reliability, Innovation & Creativity and Recognition & Rewards.

The dashboard of the airplane shows the pilot (frontline manager) the target – what is the destination, cruising height & speed, direction, as well as other critical parameters. In order to use this information, there has to be constant measurement and feedback to the pilot so that appropriate action can be taken timeously to ensure a safe flight.

ACTION

  • Use the above analogy of an airplane to explain to all employees why safety plays such a key role, but that it also has to be balanced with all the other priorities.
  • Organise facilitated workshops with the frontline managers to ask them what you, as safety professionals, should be doing to help them with SAFETY. Give them “Einspruchsrecht”[2].
  • Change your approach to toolbox / safety talks. Rather than glossing over safety for a few minutes every day at the start of shift / production meetings, hold a specific session once a week or once every two weeks and dedicate half an hour to focus purely on safety. Prepare a number of specific toolbox talks for the frontline manager to use to focus on safety.[3]

[1]    “Shape your culture, shape your company’s future“, Ian C Read, Pfizer.
[2]    “Einspruchsrecht” – a person’s right to partake in decisions which affect him/her.
[3]    DIY Safety

RELATED LINKS

Put on An Overall

Under the Knife

Toolbox Talks – Ask me for help with these, in need.

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SCnSP – Do Not Disturb

♦♦♦     SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE     ♦♦♦

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies. One of the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance is to ensure that our people understand the importance of FOCUS time and allow them to incorporate it into their daily work schedule.

Do Not Disturb - people at work

Have you ever tried putting up a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign at work? Or blocking out time in your electronic diary? What happened and should this practice be allowed?

Multi-tasking is often lauded and touted as a desirable, even necessary, trait for efficiency. However, it is a misunderstood concept and is, in fact, *not* an efficient way to get things done and can introduce unnecessary risks[2], eg. consider the risks of using a cell phone while driving, or a pilot being distracted whilst landing an aircraft.

Similarly, distractions and interruptions have a detrimental effect on the task at hand. Attention is diverted and thinking disrupted. The likelihood of a mistake being made once the person resumes the task increases three-fold[1], posing a very real safety hazard. Furthermore, the associated “resumption lag”[3] means it actually takes longer to complete the task, so productivity suffers.

Interruptions and distractions are a reality of our times. In an office environment, this can mean that work is taken home and hours spent “catching up”. (See “Kill the In Tray” [4]) In an environment or situation requiring a person to interact with equipment or machinery or controls, I’m sure you can see that the consequences can prove to be fatal.

We all have 24 hours each day, but successful people have a commitment to remain focused on the important stuff. They use their time efficiently and avoid interruption.

ACTION

  • Schedule just 30 minutes today, where you can appreciate uninterrupted time to focus on ONE important priority task and aim to finish that task. Close the door, put up a DO NOT DISTURB sign and take the phones off the hook. Beware of the email / busy trap, where you feel busy with lots of little urgent things, but you do not tackle the important stuff. (See “Waiting at the Doctors” [5]) At the end of the 30 minutes, check how much productive work you actually got done. During the following 30 minutes, operate normally and see how little you will get done, during the same time frame. Repeat this exercise a number of times, until you are convinced that productivity and success depend on focus, prioritisation and zero interruptions.
  • Now that you are convinced, it is time to create a schedule to get uninterrupted time in your day. Make it a fixed routine and ensure that people who take up your time are aware of your routine, including your boss. (See “Kill the In Tray” [4])
  • Take the above lesson and apply it to your safety critical tasks. Reduce the amount of interruptions and distractions and increase the focus on the task at hand to minimise the potential of mistakes – vessel entry, lifting, working at heights, shut-down -, start-up – and lock-out procedures, etc. including answering a cell phone.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

With grateful acknowledgement to Andrew Horton, whose post “Do Not Disturb”, inspired me to write this Safety Tip, with a focus on the safety risks.

REFERENCES

[1]   Andrew Horton “Do Not Disturb”

[2]   On the hidden perils of juggling too many jobs at once

[3]   Resumption Lag = “the time needed to ‘collect one’s thoughts’ and restart a task after an interruption is over.” [Erik M. Altmann, Task Interruption: Resumption Lag and the Role of Cues]

[4]   Jurgen Tietz “Taking Responsibility: Kill the In-Tray”   Click here to download.

[5]   Jurgen Tietz “Time and Priorities: Waiting at the Doctor”   Click here to download.

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SCnSP – Leadership Responsibility (Rot at Top)

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2013

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies. One of the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance is the role of leadership.

     

The Rot Starts At The Top

Leadership responsibility in safety

Picture: conductor of orchestra

     

Leaders have to be like the conductor of an orchestra. They select the music, dictate the tune and tempo, and ensure that all employees practice the safety habits so that together they can deliver a masterpiece.

There are, of course, other aspects as well, like setting expectations, holding each player accountable, giving feedback and recognition, etc. Nonetheless, the leaders have to invest their most precious resource to do all of this, namely their TIME. They have to be VIP’s – Visible, Involved and Pro-active – to show their employees that they are serious about safety. This is a tough call because there are so many other issues demanding the leader’s time – costs, quality, productivity, customer service …

The leader is accountable for the safety strategy, for looking ahead to what will be done tomorrow (rather than what is being done today or, even worse, what has been done yesterday!), for thinking, visualising the goal and for formulating the plan of how to get there.

There are 3 key habits which the leaders have to practice in this regard:

  1. Leaders have to formulate and communicate the safety vision and strategy. This is critical. For employees to follow, they need to know where the leader is heading and how he/she plans to get there.
  2. Leaders have to ensure that a culture of taking ACTION, in terms of safety, exists in the organization. Nothing kills the commitment and engagement in safety as quickly as a lack of ACTION. When employees see that nothing is being done about safety incidents or observations, then safety will not be a priority for them either. Taking (safety) ACTION goes way beyond pasting the SHE Policy on the walls!
  3. Leaders have to review the safety strategy. If the desired / anticipated results are not being achieved, then doing more of the same is not going to help. The leader has to look for different ways of doing things and the review should be ongoing, not only once every two years.

ACTION

Here is my challenge to you.

Use the download from my web site dealing with “Vision & Strategy” to examine what you have in place in your organization in terms of your safety strategy. Use the technique in that write-up as a checklist to formulate or review your safety vision and strategy.

It is important that leaders understand that changing the SHE culture is a transformation process and not an event. It takes years to implement such a culture change on a sustainable basis. Most companies run these short-term campaigns like ZERO ACCIDENTS, SAFETY FIRST, NO INJURIES, etc., but do not have a strategy and long-term plan in place.

The first step in formulating a safety strategy is to do the diagnostics. Look at the links below for excellent examples of what I am talking about – plus an outstanding communication effort by the NPC (National Planning Commission):

BTW. As active, adult citizens you should take an interest in what the NPC is doing to shape the future of this country!

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About

Jürgen “YEBO BABA” Tietz

 

Professional Speaker

Engineer

Coach

Jurgen Tietz: The "Yebo Baba" Effect

Thought Leader

Survivor

Author

Authority on communication and people behaviour, especially across cultures.

Fluent in isiZulu, English, German, Afrikaans.

37 years’ experience in SAFETY, mass production, manufacturing,
mining and productivity improvement.

Creative, innovative, and unconventional PARADIGM SHIFTER.

Able to engage those people who make it all happen
–  the ones who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’  –
and leave a lasting impression with SAFETY messages that ‘stick’.

Developer of the MIRROR TECHNIQUE and a SAFETY range of COOL TOOL™.

Delivers customised presentations and workshops that are dynamic, interactive and fun.

SCnSP: The Hidden Power of Good Housekeeping

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Sep 2012

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety is an Issue for Most Companies, or, putting it differently, Things we Must Address if we Want to Improve our Safety Performance. Read on to discover the hidden benefits of good housekeeping.

     

The Hidden Power of Good Housekeeping

Picture: Neat and clean personal workspace

     

Housekeeping is a dirty word for many due to a fundamental attitude issue.

Many employees see it as something over and above their job functions, whereas they really should adopt it as an integral function of their job. The result is that bad habits develop – employees do their work, clean up a little at the end of the shift and then … L … spring clean – just in time for the upcoming audit.

Some employers consider it to be not only something which does not make money, but also as a waste of money – something they have to do for cosmetic reasons or merely to please inspectors. Some even go as far as doing the bare minimum only – a good slap of paint to cover up the real problems. LL

We need to make everybody realise that poor housekeeping is a sign of a lack of order and structure, discipline and compliance. It has a direct impact on quality, productivity and safety (S.H.E.). There are few who are able to function in a mess. It is the old story of ‘a dirty place leads to a dirty mind’, i.e. muddled up thinking and confusion. People get hurt – slip, trip and fall (4 letter words) – when there is poor storage and if things are not kept neat, clean, secure and labelled. The 5S system, developed by Toyota originally, talks about Sort, Shine, Set in order, Simplify and Sustain. In S.H.E., these things do help to prevent injury and loss.

Good housekeeping has 3 hidden benefits:

  1. It makes safety highly visible and therefore problem areas surface quickly.
  2. It has a carryover in attitude towards safety rules, procedures, standards, systems and equipment.
  3. It’s a player issue. We all know what to do and don’t need a coach to hold our hand. Nothing is stopping us from working neatly, cleanly, securely and with everything labelled. It also doesn’t cost much money to have a place for everything and to put everything in its place.

Good housekeeping starts in personal work spaces – your desk, office, workbench, car, cabinet, drawer, store, toolbox, etc. It starts at home. I have looked at hundreds of personal workspaces and I can see the difference in safety attitude with ‘one eye closed’.

Do not underestimate the power of the above-mentioned three benefits of good housekeeping. If you can get good housekeeping into people’s hearts as a value, the rest of safety is much more straightforward. Make it a habit, as the leader, to become a true safety VIP for good housekeeping. Be Visible, Involved and Pro-active.

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