Safety Management Series – What E Deming and Larry the Cable Guy Have In Common – Git-R-Done Safely
By Alan Quilley
Unless you’ve been living on a beautiful sandy beach somewhere on the edge the Pacific Ocean where none of what goes on in the world of business really matters, most of us will have heard of the work and approaches of W. Edwards Deming. Often referred to as the father of quality, Deming’s Fourteen Points of Management Obligations have been fundamentally responsible for shaping our thinking about how to manage a quality approach to our businesses. We’ve also recently been exposed to (and in some cases overexposed to) Larry the Cable Guy’s less elegant approach to just “Git-R-Done”. They really are both saying the same things…well, sort of.
The links between quality and safety are natural because they are both fundamentally about doing things right, so let’s take a bolder step and actually edit Deming’s approach. With apology to the late, great W. Edwards Deming, let’s reword his 14 points and apply them to our management of safety so we can “Git-R-Done Safety.” Thanks to Larry for the bit of simple logic of it all.
Fourteen Points of Safety Management Obligations:
- Create constancy of purpose for improvement of safe production with a plan to become competitive and to stay in business. Decide to whom top management is responsible and what exactly they are responsible for.
OH&S policy statements attempt to do this through commitment statements. Make it real by making the culture one of “responsibility to others” for making safety happen through activities. Make everyone responsible for their involvement in making the place of work safe for themselves and others. Tell everyone to “Git-R-Done Safely.”
- Adopt the new philosophy: we are in a new economic age. We can no longer live with commonly accepted levels of downgrading incidents and worker injury.
Nothing is more upsetting to me than to see us congratulate each other for reductions in injury rates that we’ve artificially manipulated by early return to work programs and re-classifying injuries. Everything that represents an error needs to be investigated and fixed. Enough claiming success by lying to ourselves. When something unplanned happens we need to react in a positive way. We now have an opportunity to fix a problem we didn’t know of or had failed to manage before now.
- Cease dependence on error counting and reduction as a way to achieve safety; require, instead, statistical evidence that safety is built in.
Looking for and counting errors (injuries and/or damage) after the fact is like driving the vehicle looking out the rear window. Watch the process and measure the process as it happens. The process of safety can be managed through statistical process control. There will be observable evidence that safety is happening. Measure the creation of safety and not the avoidance of injury.
- End the process of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, depend on meaningful measures of safety along with price. Eliminate suppliers that cannot qualify with statistical evidence of safety.
Selecting contractors and suppliers by their injury rates just makes liars out of them and has them reduce their rates by early return to work programs. Measure and require your contractors/suppliers to demonstrate that they have a safety system that works and not simply by producing a certificate to show that they have been audited. We’ve known for a very long time that very unsafe companies can pass most of the popular audit instruments. Very unsafe companies can also work long periods of time without injuries. It’s called luck. A better way to motivate your employees is by measuring their safe habits to demonstrate that they are creating safety.
- Find safety problems. It is the management’s job to work continually on the safety management system.
The amount of resources a corporation spends on safety management matters a great deal. Getting safety results requires an investment of both time and money! Without this investment of our resources (time and money) we are really just wishing for safety to happen and not actually managing it to happen.
- Institute modern methods of safety training on the job.
Put away the 20 minute DVD that is supposed to give you due diligence and train all of your employees and contractors magically by watching a slick presentation of hundreds of critical issues. Humans need to be engaged and encouraged to gain skills. Stop trying to do safety to people. It doesn’t work.
- Institute improved means of supervision of production workers. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer production numbers to safe production, and improvement of safety will automatically improve productivity.
The return on investment of making a place safe has been clearly demonstrated. Removing downgrading incidents is simply good for business. We can ill afford to allow well trained, engaged workers to be injured. The resulting incident costs damage our profitability and in some cases can totally destroy it!
- Drive out fear so that everyone can work effectively, efficiently and safely for the company.
Stop yelling when you’ve had an incident. Be concerned about the loss, especially if someone is physically injured, but stop the negative reaction. The huffing and puffing that most organizations do after an incident does much to discourage future reporting. Driving our problems underground by our over-reacting is a terrible business practice.
- Break down barriers between departments.
Link all efforts in the company on safety issues. Make sure that seamless interdepartmental communication is measured and rewarded to make it happen. Measure and reward your employees not only for reaching their goals, but how well they passed the ball among their teammates.
- Eliminate slogans and targets asking for zero lost time claims without providing methods.
Too much of this has been said already; measuring the negative trailing indicators doesn’t tell us how to fix our problems. Focus on the process measures-that’s where all the secrets to incident causation lay.
- Eliminate work standards that prescribe numerical quotas without quality measurements.
To borrow from Larry the Cable Guy Let’s Git-R-Done Safely! production measures get production. Safe production measures get safe production. Git-R-Done Safely is the new credo that will get the results you want. Ask for safety as a feature of production. Ask for it on time, under budget and safely. You will see the positive reaction almost immediately.
- Remove barriers that stand between the hourly worker and his or her right to pride in working safely.
If we stop doing safety to our employees and start engaging them in establishment of our safety culture then they will start doing safety for the right reasons. Making safety a condition of employment, and making it “the way it is around here” significantly changes the outcomes and the feelings people have about safety. Being safe at work needs to be the natural state. Make it happen by making it positive, and build pride because you did this together with your employees, and not to them.
- Institute a vigorous program of education, encouragement and engagement.
High employee involvement in safe works: the evidence is in and it’s not debatable. Education through information and involvement is the way to ensure we all understand what helps to make us safe.
- Create a structure in top management that will push every day on the preceding 13 points.
The management system is perfectly designed to give you what you’re getting. If you are getting a system with high injury rates and tons of negative energy around safety, then you’ve designed your program that way by what you’re doing. Measure and reward folks through your organization to ensure they do safety. That’s the way to get positive re-enforcement.
I hope this has given you some ideas to further the enhancement of your safety efforts. Quality and safety are synonymous in highly efficient and effective cultures. Let’s “Git-R-Done Safely”!
W. EDWARDS DEMING
“Quality Productivity and Competitive Position”
Fourteen Points of Management Obligations:
- Create constancy of purpose for improvement of product and service with a plan to become competitive and to stay in business. Decide to whom top management is responsible.
- Adopt the new philosophy: we are in a new economic age. We can no longer live with commonly accepted levels of delays, mistakes, defective materials, and defective workmanship.
- Cease dependence on mass inspection as a way to achieve quality; require, instead, statistical evidence that quality is built in.
- End the process of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, depend on meaningful measure of quality along with price. Eliminate suppliers that cannot qualify with statistical evidence of quality.
- Find problems. It is the management’s job to work continually on the system.
- Institute modern methods of training on the job.
- Institute improved means of supervision of production workers. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality, and improvement of quality will automatically improve productivity.
Drive out fear so that everyone can work effectively for the company.
Break down barriers between departments.
Eliminate slogans and targets asking for increased productivity without providing methods.
Eliminate work standards that prescribe numerical quotas.
Remove barriers that stand between the hourly worker and his or her right to pride of workmanship.
Institute a vigorous program of education and retraining.
Create a structure in top management that will push every day on the preceding 13 points.
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