Improve Workplace Safety with 5S

5S safety in the facility

Many facilities choose to implement the 5S system to create a cleaner and more efficient workplace. While most think of 5S and organization synonymously, did you know the methodology can make a huge impact on safety as well?

Safety is an ongoing process supported by nearly all pillars of the 5S system:

  • Sort: Removing unnecessary clutter means there are less items for workers to trip over or otherwise injure themselves in the space.
  • Set in Order: It is important to not only arrange tools and materials in a logical manner, but to set them in places that don’t require workers to strain themselves reaching for it.
  • Shine: Inspections are a critical component to this step, and ensuring machines are kept in good order can save the facility from a dangerous situation.
  • Standardize: Standardizing processes will have workers completing tasks the same way every time, reducing the risk of accidents and malfunctions.
  • Sustain: In order for your safety efforts to be effective, you must sustain them! Additionally, the longer a company practices the 5S system, the safer their facility will be.

Although safety can be intertwined with the 5S methodology, some organizations opt to include safety as a whole new phase. When safety is added to the other pillars, the system is referred to as 6S. Companies choose the 6S method because a focus on safety can reduce the same wastes that is at the core of 5S.

Improving safety in the workplace will reduce the number of accidents and injuries, which is both costly and common source of downtime in many facilities. When spaces are created with safety in mind, workers ill also feel more confident in their work, which in turn increases productivity. 6S also gives facilities steps to continuously improve safety, something that can be otherwise difficult to maintain.

5S and Safety

6S Safety Actions:

  • Make sure your employees have the correct equipment for their jobs. Hardhats, coveralls, gloves, and steel toe shoes are some typical items required in a warehouse or manufacturing complex.
  • Train your staff to use the equipment correctly. Heavy equipment, electronics, forklifts, and power tools are all dangerous to those who use them incorrectly.
  • Easy-to-understand labels, signs, and other markings contribute to creating a safe, visual workplace.
  • Train your staff on exactly what to do in an emergency. From small incidents like cuts and bruises to larger ones like injuries and re, each employee should know what they need to do or who they need to notify.

Before working through the 5S system, managers will need to evaluate their current state of safety to see if 6S would be a beneficial addition. Some facilities may find it helpful to integrate safety into the existing framework while others choose to add a whole new phase for safety. Either way, safety is an essential part of running a facility and should be a top priority for every company.

Additional Resources