The beginning of the new year offers a great opportunity to not only evaluate our personal performance, but our professional performance as well. It’s possible to create a better quality of life in the workplace; there’s always room for improvement, bad habits to kick, and small changes to make.
Consider the year that’s now behind you. What was successful, and what failed? Improving safety is at the top of many people’s lists for 2019, but this can sometimes be a vague and over-arching goal. Here are some resolutions for the new year that’ll put you on your way to a safer and more efficient facility.
New Year’s Safety Resolutions
Becoming more fit is one of the most popular new year’s resolutions in general. This mindset, of aiming to achieve a high-quality lifestyle, can apply to your facility; there are a variety of Lean manufacturing techniques that help workplaces in any industry gain efficiency, quality, and improvement, all while reducing waste. Some of the most common methods include Kaizen, 5S, Just-in-Time, and Kanban. You can also use efficiency tools and calculators to measure how past illnesses, injuries, and accidents impacted your operations, which provides you with a basis to improve upon.
Become More Organized
Getting organized is an honorable goal, but in order to make this resolution successful, you’re going to need detailed strategies and the right tools. The 5S system, a framework that maximizes efficiency and profit, utilizes five steps to create value and organization: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain, with a sixth S recently added—Safety. Adopting this system is a great way to make your workplace more organized, clean, and efficient. It not only streamlines operations but ensures that employees are safer as well.
Many Lean methodologies, including 5S, incorporate visual tools such as signs, labels, and floor tape to communicate information and ensure that everyone in the workplace is on the same page. These warn of hazards, establish intention, and provide accountability. Having your own in-house industrial label printer at your facility allows you to create the signage you need for less cost. It also gives you access to a variety of options that will enhance communications in your workplace and provide employees with the information they need to stay informed and safe.
The beginning of the year is a logical time to make annual revisions to your employee handbooks and operation manuals. While your business should be compliant year-round, consider starting things off on the right foot by being proactive and adopting new requirements that are going to soon take place. Agencies such as OSHA, NFPA, and ANSI consistently update their rules, and these revisions typically take effect within the first months of a new year. Brush up on the most recent changes to laws and regulations that impact your workplace.
Kick Some Bad Habits
Are you guilty of committing any of the top 10 OSHA violations of 2019? Have you slipped in ensuring regulatory compliance in the past? Kick these bad habits to the curb. First, pinpoint the mistakes you need to fix and focus on a few of them to change. If employees aren’t wearing eye protection or respiratory protection, you can conduct mandatory training sessions and implement signage to remind workers to don their PPE. If your hazard communication program needs some work, make sure you’re up to date with GHS and other regulations. You can also implement hazard tape and other visual cues to ensure workers are aware of risks in their areas.
Take Up a New Hobby
As you get ready to tackle your resolutions and are prepared to learn something new, keep in mind that successful change takes place gradually. Adopting new techniques and taking on new habits doesn’t happen overnight but rather with a little bit of time devoted each day. Kaizen, a mindset of continuous improvement, helps you analyze and prioritize to slowly accomplish change. Although it may seem odd to attempt to achieve your resolutions every single day, it takes small, incremental steps to accomplish those big changes that take place over the course of a year.
Remember, aiming for a safe and efficient facility should be practiced year-round. Rather than considering these resolutions to be important for the first couple months of the new year, it helps to regard them as a fundamental aspect to a successful and efficient facility. Be safe, and good luck with all of your resolutions this year.
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