Friday, December 16, 2011

How will you view safety in 2012?

Your safety program is mostly likely a compliance based program. Decades of requirements set forth by OSHA and others have defined the safety focus for most businesses - to comply with the regulations intended to keep those in harm’s way safe while on the job. My mission for the last two years, since the publication of Lean Safety, has been to change how people think about safety. My background as a lean champion freed me from the traditional view that a safety program is only a vehicle used to deliver compliance. My view is that you can also use your safety program to engage employees in the continuous improvement of safety, a proactive effort to reduce injury risk, and by doing that you can advance your lean efforts.

In 2011 I was given the opportunity to present the Lean Safety story to many people. My opportunities to touch people and change their thinking regarding safety ranged from organized events like workshops and conference keynotes to chance meetings on the golf course. If you know me, you know it is hard for me not to share my passion! In an attempt to change your thinking in 2012 I thought I would share a few comments from some of those I influenced in 2011.

The CEO of a business that hosted a Lean Safety kaizen event – “We used direct labor employees rather than supervisors on the teams and I was especially gratified by their enthusiasm and involvement.”

Attendee’s plan after his attendance at a Lean Safety workshop in Saskatchewan – To involve others in safety via empowerment and create a list of safety standard work activities.

Attendee at an AME sponsored 3-day Lean Safety Kaizen Blitz event – “I really liked the emphasis on trust and people – that is the key!”

Attendee at 2-day Shanghai workshop – Most useful was the understanding gained about the integration of lean tools in the safety system.

Managing Director of a facility that hosted a Lean Safety Kaizen Workshop in Melbourne – “The Lean Safety experience was a refreshing extension on safety thinking and safety programmes.”

Attendee at Lean Safety workshop in Melbourne – “…by applying lean thinking to a Safety Kaizen event, an organization can still achieve the same positive outcomes with considerations made to the team members instead of just the process. This type of thinking builds the foundation for an engaged work force and a positive safety culture.”

Corporate Lean Champion - “Robert brings a unique skill set to his work in safety. He leverages his expertise in Lean and understands the importance of creating a strong work culture to drive improvement. My experience with Bob helped me see new ways of improving safety.”

So in 2012 my mission will be the same. I will continue to help people understand that the way to anchor lean in their culture is to focus on safety. By engaging a workforce in the continuous improvement of safety a leadership team will build a foundation of trust which can be used to move the business culture forward in a positive direction. This is possible because “Safety First” will no longer just be a slogan on a banner, but instead a way of thinking, acting and interacting in their business.

My travel and event schedule for 2012 is being finalized. Possible destinations include Shanghai, China, Melbourne, Australia, Manchester, England, Portland, Oregon, Austin, Texas, Toronto, Canada, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Please contact me if you would like to schedule a workshop or safety kaizen event in 2012.

Thank you to everyone who I have had the opportunity to meet and work with in 2011. Many of you are the recipients of this message. I hope each and every one of you has a very joyous Christmas and that 2012 will be a year of personal growth.

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