Manufacturing Safety for Manitoba

Lean and Safety go hand in hand at CSSE 2019

Lean and Safety go hand in hand at CSSE 2019

Posted on June 12, 2019

By Nathan Rasmussen, Safety Facilitator


Operations management has been working to integrate safety into the day-to-day goings on of the typical manufacturing facility for years. While this lofty goal is shared in every department, the reality of today’s workplace is that there are more priorities than the people needed to do them, which means that support services (e.g. engineering, sales, maintenance, accounting) often feel like they’re running safety off the side of their desks. And when that happens, other priorities take over.

Every rowing team that has ever won an Olympic medal had everyone on that team rowing in the same direction. It’s the same for your operations: the goals that are achieved are the ones that everyone is working towards. Professional development opportunities like the upcoming CSSE conference can help you align objectives and accelerate your results. Building the case for management (more on that later) can be critical to securing the budget you need to do just that.

Creating a successful safety management system means building safety into your Lean manufacturing, quality assurance and product design processes. Safety needs to be integrated at a basic level in each of those steps to ensure that it will be front and centre by the time your products hit the manufacturing floor. Empowering employees to take ownership of critical business goals – like safety – is a fundamental part of the Lean philosophy. What’s more, building process and worker safety into every business unit will remove many of the obstacles to a strong a functional safety program. 

So how do we get there? 

It’s very easy to drop a statement like “build safety into Lean and watch your injury rates drop!” Sure, no arguments from anyone on that point. Seems like kind of a no-brainer… so why isn’t everyone doing it? The fact is that no matter how great the concept, if there is no clear road map for implementation, it won’t happen. 

CSSE Lean and Safety

From September 22-25, 2019, the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) Professional Development Conference is coming to Winnipeg. Each year, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) practitioners gather at the CSSE’s professional development conference to challenge their thinking, enhance their effectiveness on the job, and develop influential partnerships with other health and safety colleagues from around the world. This year, Made Safe’s team of experts is joining forces with CME’s Lean practitioners for a special breakout session on Lean and Safety. The goal of this session is to provide the first few concrete steps on the path to building a safety and continuous improvement.

Participants who attend this session will leave with important Lean and hazard identification tools that we use on a daily basis; an understanding of how to apply these tools to fix problems in your facility; and the ability to lead a discussion in your workplace on best practices for building your safety and continuous improvement culture.

The case for management

Now for the hard part. As safety professionals, we understand the importance of attending CSSE. But when it comes to securing the budget for professional development, once you decided if you’ll attend, how do you determine how many people to send and who do you register? 

Let’s talk about how to get the return on investment from this session, because there is absolutely an investment being made here in time away from the shop, conference registration, etc., and we need to make sure that you get the full value!

First, the IF: Is your organization involved or interested in Lean manufacturing or focused on continuous improvement? Are you on the path to SAFE Work Certification or working on developing your Safety Management System?  If you answered “yes”, your organization can benefit immediately from integrating Lean and safety in your current processes. Continuous improvement and safety culture development is intended to give you the ability to begin creating the tools that your frontline workers and leadership need to make your organization more effective and safer, today!

Next, HOW MANY:  Neither Lean nor safety is a standalone process. I would recommend that two of your people attend. This team will be tasked with reporting out on the conference learnings to the rest of your organization and will be key in implementing the beginnings of your Lean / safety journey. Having two people who are familiar with the ways in which Lean and safety can fit together will give you the broad, team-based perspective necessary to give your program the best chance for success. If you’re only budgeting to send your safety practitioner, ensure that they have the time to become familiar with the components of your Lean / continuous improvement program before the PDC.

Finally, WHO:  A champion of Lean at your facility (expert-level knowledge not required), and a second person who is a champion for the safety management systems in place at your facility, are the ideal candidates for this training. We all look at our operations through the filter of our own experiences, and both the Lean and safety perspectives are critical to this process.  You don’t need to send your safety professional, nor do you need to send your continuous improvement manager; but for the best value, sending a practitioner who understands how to apply the information in this session to the real life reality of your facility so that you can see real results, real fast, gives you the best bang for your employee development buck.

For more information on the CSSE conference, or how safety and Lean can work hand in hand to improve your operational effectiveness, connect with Made Safe today!

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