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related to printers, equipment, supplies and services for labeling, sign making and safety related applications.
Monday, July 21, 2014
5S-ing the Home
Written by Angelique Sanders
A few years ago my rent increased dramatically and I had to
find a new place and move while very busy with work. My new home had very
little storage space and unpacking was done hastily, so I didn't put much of a
system in place. I lived there for two years and never took the time to put together
a solid system. Pans weren't near the stove, cups were far from the sink, and
coming out of the shower in need of a fresh towel meant raining onto carpet
while running to a distant hall closet. Everything I needed always seemed to be
far away and I spent a lot of time running around unnecessarily.
The same situation is pretty common in workplaces. We
inherit our work environment and though when we're new we might question why
the hammers are here yet the nails are over there, we are busy with other
things and eventually settle into the status quo. One day we find ourselves
training our replacement and explaining that the hammers are here and the nails
This is one of the glories of 5S. It mandates that we create
a system, that we take the time to put the hammers and nails together and move
them both to where we'd mostly likely be when we need them. 5S requires us to spend
the time upfront, so that over the long haul we'll be less bogged down with
When I bought a new place, I learned from my previous
mistakes and decided to bone up on 5S, so that the precepts I'd put into place
at work could be enacted at home too. While the word 'productivity' typically
calls to mind assembly lines and intense hands-on work, there isn't any reason
to waste free time running around for towels or pans. Efficiency at home
doesn't increase profit but it earns me the right to sit down and enjoy some
found quiet time.
So if you'd like to be a machine of efficiency at home like
you are at work, here are some suggestions. If you find this project too
daunting, do it in sprints…just set aside time for the first step now. Once you
feel the results, you'll find it easier to make time for future steps.
Sort and Red Tag (in theory)
Though at work this step involves red tagging, at home I
simply call it Making a Pile for Goodwill. Start out by defining junk. My
personal standard is, if I haven't used it for a year it needs to be tossed.
Some things just aren't used frequently because they're specialty, like a steam
cleaner or turkey baster, but make sure these items are placed in non-prime
real estate such as a bottom drawer, hard-to-reach top cupboard or back closet.
This is the time to stop lying to yourself that you'll soon fix that
broken-for-two-years-now clock. Get rid of it and don't look back.
Step 2: Set
in Order (don't just relocate the garbage)
This step is my personal favorite because it's where the
real magic happens. Identify time bleeds. When you're in the kitchen, do you
criss-cross to get the right implements to the right place? What is in that
hall closet? No one hangs out in the hall so those items are getting utilized
from other rooms. If they're frequently utilized, they should be moved into the
room where they're needed, with less frequently used items getting retired into
that space. In other words if you have to dig for cotton swabs in the hall
closet every day yet you have a stash of guest towels in the bathroom that you
need once per quarter, trade those items. Think about your home as a series of
workstations. Are necessary tools nearby? When you're getting ready for work do
you move in a linear fashion or are you running around to different rooms and
colliding with family members? If you can shave five minutes off your time,
that's five more minutes of sleep every day, which is 30 hours over the course
of a year.
Step 3: Shine,
or at least make it less grubby
I think few people are big fans of cleaning but it can
streamline your processes if you remove clutter from your path. Navigating
around a pile of dirty laundry each day may not be just a matter of cleaning
but in auditing the system so that the pile—which, let's face it, WILL
accumulate again—is out of the way of foot traffic.
Now is the time to pay attention to frayed wire, leaking
pipes, or other potential future issues. If you don't have time to deal with it
then call in some help, trade specialized labor with a friend or bring in a
specialist. Get 'er done, as they say. We all have infinite lists of pending
tasks and the collective mental weight of this can be like schlepping around a
backpack. When this stuff is taken care of, you'll feel less bogged down and
ready to conquer new things.
Step 4: Standardize
Just as in a workplace where an ideal environment finds the
special abilities of each employee and hones in on those talents, a family
should find the ideal niche for each member. If your son loves the outdoors,
put him in charge of weeding. With task ownership comes accountability and
pride, and he'll be more likely to put in 110%.
Set a schedule for these tasks and a penalty for
noncompletion or reward for completion. Allowance or increased privileges are
an obvious path for the kids but what about the adults of the family? To each
his own pleasure. If you want to enjoy a favorite show, set that as a reward
for recaulking the tub. Don't allow yourself that morning cup of coffee until
the dishwasher is unloaded. Like Pavlov's dogs, you're retraining your behavior
with positive reinforcement and enticing the transition to the more orderly
person you wish to become.
Step 5: Sustain
Just as you might set aside Friday afternoons at work to
sort through email or return tools to the tool crib, schedule regular time at
home to clean and audit the organizational system, establishing a pattern. Did
the laundry pile re-grow back into its former place? There will be some creep
after a system overhaul as you are trying to defeat entrenched bad habits.
Scheduling time to rectify is important not only to restore order but to remind
yourself of the goals and help retrain toward more orderly habits.
I like to walk through the house before going to bed to
verify that things are in good order—the stove is off, no food has been left
out, the alarm clock is set. Schedule a few minutes each day to assess, then
you know what needs to get done even if you can't tackle it then.
Changing your household system won't happen by just walking through
these 5S steps; you have to set better systems in place and adhere. If bad
patterns creep in again, imagine that you're at work and click into productive
mode while attacking the house. Home contains a lot of associations of
relaxation whereas the workplace atmosphere has a way of herding people into
active mode, and you need that type of thinking to conquer the mess.
It's too bad that dirt will perpetually accumulate on
everything and things will always break, but with a new system and good habits in
place, you'll be a step ahead of the chaos.
Labels: 5S, 5s application, 5s the home
posted by GMcConnell - 2:40:00 PM - -
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Tuesday, July 01, 2014
What's not to like about OSHA?
Throughout every industry, there are a
lot of different opinions regarding OSHA. Some opinions are positive,
but a lot of them reflect a negative attitude toward the agency. Often,
companies blame OSHA for the loss of production and profit. It is widely
believed that an OSHA inspection will result in a negative outcome.
With personal opinions aside, what do the statistics prove? What
attitude toward safety and OSHA should you as an employer take?
The numbers don’t lie; since OSHA was formed in 1970, the
workforce has more than doubled in size while work-related deaths have
been reduced by 65% and workplace injuries have been reduced by 67%!
While we can all agree this is promising news, further studies have
shown how OSHA is affecting the individual employer, which is just
another motivational factor for seeking OSHA compliance.
Aside from saving lives and protecting workers from injury or illness, OSHA has been linked to the reduction in workers compensation costs.
A study by professors of business at Harvard, University of California,
Berkley, and Boston University titled, “Randomized Government Safety
Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with no Detectable Job Loss.” The
study focused on businesses that were selected by Cal/OSHA’s
randomized inspections. Data showed that work related injury claims were
reduced by 9.4% at the businesses who had been inspected by
OSHA. Additionally, these companies saved a total of 26% on workers
compensation costs in contrast to companies who hadn't been inspected.
In 2011, this resulted in an average savings of $355,000! The study
concluded that the nation’s employers could have saved around $20
billion from OSHA inspections similar to those studied from Cal/OSHA’s
randomized inspections. Keep in mind that on top of the direct savings,
employers would have saved in indirect costs such as loss of production
or a decrease in employee morale.
Safety is like any other aspect of running a business. On the outside, it may seem like you are
continually forking out money to implement a safety program, purchase
engineering controls and PPE, or paying fines to OSHA after an
inspection. However, complying with OSHA’s regulations and establishing
an effective safety program at your company will undoubtedly reduce
workplace injuries and illnesses, improve employee morale, and increase
profitability! So, I’ll ask again, what’s not to like about OSHA?
Labels: osha, OSHA Compliance, what's not to like about osha
posted by GMcConnell - 9:32:00 AM - -
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Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Why Having a “We’ve Never Had An Accident” Attitude is Dangerous
“We’ve never had an accident.” It is a
sentence we hear all the time. It is a similar argument to car
insurance and health insurance. “I’ve never wrecked my car,” or “I don’t
have major health issues,” do not always win the argument for not
having car and health insurance. After a prolonged period of time with
things going smoothly, we get a false sense of security that nothing bad
will happen. We can feel invincible (like an elephant walking on a
tightrope). Unfortunately, that seems to be about the time an accident
happens, and it is too late. So why should companies invest in safety
even though they haven’t had an accident or an OSHA citation?
In normal day to day activities, we
tend to see a lot of the same things at work and at home. The repetition
may cause us to not even think twice about what we are seeing. For
example, some office workers may type an email addressed to “Brain”
instead of “Brian”. Without Spellcheck catching the error, the mistake
can go unnoticed. In our homes, we may not give second thought to a
non-skid surface in our tubs and showers. That one time you almost slip
and fall in the tub can make you reconsider those little rubber ducky
mats. The same can be said for a construction site or a production
plant. Ask yourself this, are there any hazards I see at work every day
that I am not giving thought to?
Investing in a safety program is an
excellent way to prevent accidents and injuries. Utilizing an outside
safety consulting company, such as LSCI, is a great way to bring in
someone with fresh eyes. We can inspect your facility or jobsite to see
what hazards exist that you may be walking past every day, or conduct a
training with information that may have never been presented before.
LSCI can even help to form your own safety committee in the workplace so
that you can work as a team to assess hazards.
You may have never had an accident,
but why risk it? Frequent and periodic training, coupled with site
inspections and a safety committee are the best preventative measures to
utilize to keep your employees safe. Call LSCI today to see where we
can assist you. Let us be your “rubber ducky mat”.
Labels: accident attitude, accident prevention
posted by GMcConnell - 10:36:00 AM - -
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Thursday, May 22, 2014
Top 10 Safety Violations and What You Can Do To Avoid Them - Guest Blogger
Safety isn't simply about wearing your
hard hat and safety glasses. Each standard, whether it be machine
guarding or occupational noise exposure, has its own requirements and
rules to follow. The requirements have not been made randomly; they have
been developed, reviewed, and updated as changes in the workplace
occur. In fact, OSHA publishes a list of the Top 10 Most Frequently
Cited Standards for every fiscal year. Reviewing the list will give you
insight to the standards that most employers are affected by. Keep in
mind that these are the most common cited standards, but not the only
ones. More information can be found at www.osha.gov or by contacting Lancaster Safety Consulting, Inc.
1. FALL PROTECTION 1926.501 (CONSTRUCTION)
Familiarize your employees with the
difference between fall prevention and fall protection for work that is
performed 6 feet or more above a lower level. If you can implement
effective measures of fall prevention, such as a guardrail system (top
rail, mid rail, and toe board) or safety net system, then you are
eliminating the hazard. However, fall prevention means are not always
feasible, which is where fall protection comes into play. Employees can
use the assistance of a personal fall arrest system that would include a
body harness and lanyard. Different types, sizes, and lengths are
available to accommodate the employee and the situation.
2. HAZARD COMMUNICATION 1910.1200
Familiarity with chemicals, SDSs, labels,
etc. is a key factor to preventing accidents involving chemical
exposure. With OSHA’s recent revision to the Hazard Communication
standard this is even more important. The standard has been aligned with
the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of
Chemicals (GHS). Employees will need to be trained on the new hazard
classification criteria, pictograms, labeling requirements, and the
safety data sheet (SDS) 16-section format. All employers must have
trained their employees on the new label elements and the SDS format by
December 1, 2013; other required elements are due within the upcoming
3. SCAFFOLDING 1926.451 (CONSTRUCTION)
Whether you are using a supported
scaffold or a suspended scaffold, the requirements are extremely
detailed and meticulous. Scaffolds must be designed by a qualified
person and be constructed and loaded in accordance with the original
design. Any components made by a different manufacturer may not be
intermixed with the original structure unless a competent person
determines that the result is structurally sound. Scaffolds and
components must be visually inspected by a competent person before each
work shift; any parts that are damaged/defected must be immediately
repaired or replaced. Maintain appropriate clearances between scaffolds
and power lines. All employees on a scaffold that is more than 10 feet
above a lower level must be protected from falls.
4. RESPIRATORY PROTECTION 1910.134
Respiratory protection is quite often one
of the most overlooked standards, when in reality it is one of the
easiest to comply with by following these simple steps:
- Evaluate the workplace and determine if employees are exposed to harmful dusts, mists, vapors, or other respiratory ailments.
- Contact one of OSHA’s free state-consultation services or a local company to conduct air sampling.
- If respirators are required, purchase the most suitable type and have employees medically evaluated, cleared, and fit tested.
- If respirators are not required,
make certain that any employees who voluntarily wear dust masks have
read and signed Appendix D.
Ensure employees keep respirators and dust masks in a clean, sanitary condition.
5. ELECTRICAL, WIRING METHODS 1910.305
Key elements of this standard include:
- Temporary wiring shall only be
using for a period of time not exceeding 90 days, during maintenance,
remodeling, or repair of buildings, and/or experimental/developmental
- Flexible cords shall only be
used as temporary wiring and plugged into an approved outlet. They
should not be used as a substitute for fixed wiring or run through
doorways, windows, walls, or ceilings.
- Fittings, frames, cable trays,
cable sheaths, metal raceways, and other non-current carrying parts
serving as grounding conductors shall be effectively bonded.
Wiring systems shall not be installed in
ducts used for ventilation, vapor removal, or transportation of dust or
6. POWERED INDUSTRIAL TRUCKS 1910.178
Whether employees are operating
forklifts, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, or
other specialized industrial trucks, they must be certified to do so.
Certifications encompass formal instruction, practical training, and a
performance evaluation that is valid for three (3) years. Ensure
employees are performing pre-operation inspections of the equipment and
reporting any damages or defects immediately for servicing. Keep
certifications valid and equipment in working order to avoid citations
if OSHA knocks at your door.
7. LADDERS 1926.1053 (CONSTRUCTION)
Perform pre-use inspections to look for
damages, cracks, missing rungs, slipping hazards, etc. Immediately tag
damaged ladders out-of-service until they have been repaired. Do not
load ladders beyond the maximum intended load, tie or fasten ladders to
make longer sections, or paint them with any type of coating that can
cover cracks or defects. Always maintain three (3) points of contact and
face the ladder when climbing. Use the quarter safety rule for throwing
portable ladders and properly brace them before climbing. Fixed ladders
must be equipped with a ladder safety device, self-retracting lifeline,
or cage if the length of the climb is more than 24 feet.
8. LOCKOUT/TAGOUT 1910.147
Equipment must be properly locked and
tagged out during any maintenance or servicing of equipment where there
is the potential for re-energization of the machine or a release of
stored energy. The simplest way to maintain compliance is to audit all
machines and develop machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures for
future servicing. Ensure employee retention by conducting mandatory,
periodic (at least annually) inspections of the energy control
procedures with all authorized employees. And remember, when in doubt,
lock it out.
9. ELECTRICAL, GENERAL REQUIREMENTS 1910.303
All electric equipment must be examined
to ensure it is free from recognized hazards. The examination includes
suitability for insulation, mechanical strength, wire-bending and
connections, electrical insulation, heating effects under all
conditions, and arcing effects. Ensure all electrical equipment is
properly labeled with the manufacturer’s name, trademark, and voltage,
current, wattage, etc. Electric panel boxes shall be free from
obstructions and have a clear workspace that is at least 36” in depth in
front and a width of at least 30 inches or the width of the panel box,
whichever is greater.
10. MACHINE GUARDING 1910.212
Point of operation, ingoing nip points,
rotating parts, flying chips and sparks are all hazards associated with
machinery that require the use of guarding. If a machine comes from the
manufacturer with guards affixed, do not alter or remove them. If they
become damaged, immediately tag the equipment out of service until the
guarding can be replaced. Sometimes, machines are not provided with
guarding. It also isn’t the manufacturer’s concern. As an employer, it
is your responsibility to evaluate each piece of equipment to determine
any hazards associated. Develop appropriate means of guarding to protect
the worker, even if it has the potential to alter production methods.
Employee protection always comes before employee production.
posted by GMcConnell - 7:42:00 AM - -
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Thursday, April 10, 2014
Monozukuri: Continuous Improvement meets Craftsmanship
If you’ve seen the Martin Scorsese
movie Hugo, you know that the story revolves around a 12-year-old boy’s quest
to finish repairing a lifelike automaton (mechanical toy) that his deceased
father was working on.
What are automatons? Picture the
fortune-telling gypsy at the arcade that moves its head and hands with the drop
of your quarter. Automatica goes back as far as Greek civilization and ancient
China and became widely popular during the industrial revolution.
Then, European watchmakers built
automatonic dolls to showcase their skills. In Japan, popular automatons known
as karakuri were designed and built with a deeper sense of diligence and a
Japanese appreciation for automation, craftsmanship and excellence. These
karakuri dolls or robots often depicted people: a merger of humanity and
technology. The most popular was the tea
serving doll, a small wind up robot that would move across the floor to
deliver tea to guests.
The craft of Karakuri was
influenced by a Japanese cultural concept known as monozukuri.
“Mono” means the thing that is made and
“zukuri” means the act of making. Monozukuri addresses the intangibles of design,
engineering and manufacturing
such as creativity, innovation and craft… very human traits.
Futurist Morinosuke Kawaguchi
refers to monozukuri as the merging of Japanese culture with engineering and
technology. Takahiro Fujimoto, a professor at the University of Tokyo, calls
monozukuri the “art, science and craft of making things.”
Lean Manufacturing principles like kaizen focus on incremental and continuous improvement, which is not unlike traditional Japanese crafts. No apprentice
learns all they need to know from a master in an instant. He’s first given
simple tasks. If he does well, he may be allowed to perform a small part of the
master’s process. As he gains more responsibility, he begins to develop his own
style by “figuring out” what the master is doing. Finally the apprentice
develops a technique similar to the master’s yet uniquely his own.
Toyota’s employee advancement
practices are based on developing “future successors of the Toyota tradition”
through its Technical Skills Academy. On
its website, Toyota states that its philosophy of monozukuri is “about
developing people.” Toyota believes in building craftsmen as well as cars.
The Prime Minister of Japan set up
a council in 1998 to promote monozukuri and reestablish Japan’s manufacturing
superiority after the recession of the nineties. With the continuing growth of
automation and robotics, monozukuri’s basic tenet of bridging creativity and
technology will likely become more valued by companies looking to maximize
their manufacturing processes as well as their creative edge.
For improving your company’s edge,
Graphic Products offers a complimentary Kaizen Best Practice Guide, along with
other Lean Manufacturing materials. To get your free guide, click here.
Labels: kaizen, Lean Manufacturing, monozukuri
posted by GMcConnell - 7:55:00 AM - -
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