While working in manufacturing I could directly impact business results but now, as a workshop facilitator, presenter, and consultant, I can only influence change. My success comes through others. This July I will have a unique opportunity. I will facilitate a 2-day Lean Safety workshop in Shanghai, China. Manufacturers from all over the world have flocked to China to build a base from which they will have direct access to this emerging marketplace. I have been provided access to this market and plan to share my belief that we all have a responsibility, not only for our safety, but the safety of others. The lean tools approach to safety improvement that I will share is an honest trust building activity.
Approximately 14 workers lose their life per day in the U.S. compared to 228 in China. Their workforce is five times that of the U.S. which means the opportunity to make a safety difference is five times greater. The focus on worker safety in the U.S. has a long history. The ASSE (American Society of Safety Engineers) organization, which is committed to protecting people, property and the environment, was formed in 1911 and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) was legislated into existence in 1971. Clearly effective safety management require the cooperation and combined efforts of governments, professional organizations and business segments like mining, construction and manufacturing. Managers, no matter what industry they work in, must put worker safety ahead of all else. Yet that was not always the case in the US. There is a sad history of tragedies driving legislation that in turn raised the standards for protecting workers in harms-way. My guess is the same sequence of events is in motion in China. So what can I do to influence positive change in attitudes toward worker safety?
In conjunction with changes driven by legislation individuals must be educated to better understanding what is safe, and what is not, for it is individuals who must use common sense and good safety judgment before taking actions that could result in injury. For two days I will have the opportunity to influence the workshop attendees, individuals in leadership positions, who will represent a variety of industries. If each of them returns to work with an understanding of how to use lean thinking and tools to make safety a continuous improvement activity that involves their workers I will have been successful. Then these same leaders, having earned trust, can build on that trust as they engage their workforce in the continuous improvement of their business. That is the essence of lean safety.
Do you have a facility or a supplier in the Shanghai area? If you do here is your opportunity to make a safety difference. Contact me and I will forward you a PDF of the workshop flyer that you can then forward to them. Let's together make a safety difference in China.