Building Safety Into the Process

Focusing on safety to reduce waste has a direct effect on cost and\r\nefficiency, according to a speaker at the National Safety Council's\r\n(NSC) Congress & Expo 2000 in Orlando, Fla.

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Focusing on safety to reduce waste has a direct effect on cost and efficiency, according to a speaker at the National Safety Council''s (NSC) Congress & Expo 2000 in Orlando, Fla.

Edward Bulakites, safety and health programs manager with United Technologies Corp., Hardford, Conn., told attendees how the concept of the safety Kaizen has helped his company eliminate hazards and improve efficiency.

"Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning ''improvement,''" explained Bulakites. "This type of safety improvement we implement in our facilities throughout the country is an improvement that involves everyone."

Bulakites said the first step to implementing a safety is to define the perimeters of the Kaizen. Create a mission statement centered around the elimination of waste.

Next, get your resources together and determine who will be a part of the Safety Kaizen team. Bulakites suggested that employees, process experts, and safety professionals be involved in the process.

The third aspect involves the training process. Bulakites said it usually takes a full week to train everyone involved toward completing the ultimate goal of correcting the problem.

The first day, hold a classroom session with participants to teach them about the Kaizen process.

On day two, identify where hazards exist in your work environment and determine which three hazards you want to start to eliminate first.

"The Kaizen process tends to identify a lot of hazards, so you need to prioritized the hazards," said Bulakites. "This process is never ending, so you will address all of the hazards eventually. You will get a new group of top three hazards to eliminate after you have finished with the first."

The third day involves brainstorming of ideas to solve the top three hazards chosen. Bulakites said that in this stage, it is important to remember that "no idea is a bad idea."

Decide how you will address the top three hazards and select alternative methods of solving the problems in case the original solutions don''t work.

Bulakites said the fourth day involves getting approval and financial support from upper management for the solutions. Then, test, justify and implement those solutions.

On the fifth day, hold a meeting and present the conclusions of the action to upper management.

Bulakites warned that the work doesn''t end after a week of training. In order to sustain the process, reevaluate and follow up.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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