CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Think Lean to Make Safety Simpler No leader wants employees to get injured at work, but sadly and quite often, the cost of safety (e.g., additional time and capital spent for material and equipment) gets in the way of making good decisions. When the cost of safety becomes a burden to the organization, the safety approach begins to suffer.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to reduce this “cost,” add more value and achieve the level of safety required? Well, there is a way…the answer is by making your safety approach more efficient.


Angel Zhou said...

As a crew member who got injured on the set of “Ragtime”, I appreciate this article about the importance of safety at work. Granted, I hurt myself by falling on a staircase, but I believe this topic is important nonetheless.

The information included in the article is somewhat mixed; it spends a lot of time discussing a company example that I don’t fully understand – how do supervisors spend 60% of their work day on safety-specific activities? How do they fulfill their other responsibilities? At this point, it may seem more beneficial to hire someone full-time to specifically perform safety-related activities.

As for the advice given, the first two main points are helpful and well-described through bullet points. The signs are particularly good tips since visuals are good ways to make sure workers are constantly reminded of the things they need to remember to stay safe. The visuals also help outside workers integrate easily into a new environment. Conversely, the last tip about expert “hackers” somewhat offends me and does not make much sense to me. As a computer science major, I feel as though they could use a better word and image than ones that blatantly associate “hacker” to an antagonist. The author also never fully goes into what is meant by “use your expert “hackers” to design the process”. I personally think “software engineer” would be a much more appropriate term in this context.

Julian Goldman said...

I think everyone makes safety a priority in theory, but it is more complicated to really do that in practice. I see this in theater all the time, people say safety in the most important thing, and then end up standing on one foot on the top step of a ladder using a saw with the safety removed, because that is the fastest way to do some particular job. I think this idea of integrating safety protocol is a good one, because it prevents the unintended message that there are some rules that are the real rules and some rules that are just there for safety, making safety feel like a separate thing that has been tacked on and could be removed. I also agree that if people are taking unsafe shortcuts, it is important not to just stop them, but also to look at why. In all likelihood they’d rather be doing it safely as well, but if they are finding a work around, they likely don’t feel like there is a good safe option for doing the job.

Vanessa Ramon said...

wow, this article got me hooked with the first paragraph. this article starts off with such a simple statement that is so true but often ignored. The approach the article suggests to help make your safety plan more efficient is an interesting idea that I wasn't quite sure how it would work.The first way the article suggests you do this is more conceptual than I would have thought but I think very smart. A lot of people don't focus on safety and one of the reasons is because they don't want to take the extra time, but if the safety of the tool was built into the way it is used, then it doesn't seem like extra time being spent and it makes the safety process part of the everyday process.The last step kind of confuses me. I am not quite sure what the author means when they say that employers try to take shortcuts and that's bad, but then suggests that you build the shortcuts into the process.

John Yoerger said...

I think this article has some fantastic tips. Two points that really stood out to me include "Perceptions of extra work, time, paperwork, etc., contribute to poor decision-making" and " Create visual cues that make it easy (for anyone) to see what right looks like" -- The first point, regarding perception about the importance of work, I think is very interesting. Especially if you are trying to document and mitigate risk but the people completing the forms don't care or don't think it is worth their time. So a change in perception is needed if you want them to be effective and not just fudge it around for the sake of getting it done. They need to know that it is important. And that goes for any paperwork for anything for anyone, really. The second point regarding visual cues and being able to see what "right looks like" I also think is a great point. You can always include a long manual of what not to do, but how often do you see signs that demonstrate the correct way to do things? Wouldn't that also be more positive? The other great idea here in this article says to use people with no process knowledge to see if they understand it and HELL YEAH! It is so great to pull out people who aren't in the picture to get their opinion. They won't be grounded to say anything just to make the Manager happy and they won't know about the process so you'll get results for sure on if your safety processes work.

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