When looking at the 5S methodology, it is clear that it is a great way to identify and eliminate various types of waste in the workplace. When done properly, 5S can also help to improve the overall safety in the facility. In fact, it has been shown to be so effective at improving safety that many places have begun calling it 6S, with the sixth S standing for safety.
Each S Helps with Safety
Even without incorporating a sixth S, it isn’t difficult to see how 5S can help a company improve safety. Looking at each of the main ‘S’s” it is easy to see how a facility will become safer when properly implemented.
- Sort – Sorting an area out, removing any clutter, and ensuring the only items in an area are those that are strictly needed will eliminate obstacles. There are less items to run into, trip over, catch on fire, or cause other types of damage. A well-sorted workplace is a safer workplace.
- Straighten – Everything in a facility should have a set place where it is kept. When things are in their proper place, it is less likely that an employee will grab the wrong item. Using wrong items can cause serious risks to the safety of the facility, which is why a facility that is properly straightened up is a safer facility.
- Shine – Keeping a company clean and well-maintained is very important for safety. Wiping away dust, for example, removes a fire hazard. Cleaning up spills reduces the risk of slip-and-fall accidents. There is really no doubt that a company that is properly shined is a company that is safer.
- Standardize – Standardizing processes will ensure everything is done the same way every time. This will reduce the risk of malfunctions, accidents, and other issues. Environments that follow standard processes are going to be safer environments.
- Sustain – Of course, it is important to sustain all the effort that is made in the previous steps. Taking action on any of the other S’s once won’t do much good, but sustaining it over time will be very helpful. In fact, the longer the 5S methodology is followed, the safer the facility will be. With this in mind it is clear that a company that has sustained effort will be much safer.
Whether a company is primarily looking to eliminate waste, improve productivity, increase the bottom line, or become a safer workplace, 5S is an excellent strategy to use. It has been around for years, and proven effective by thousands of companies around the world.