Poka Yoke: What’s it all about?

Poka Yoke is a simple concept that is often used in manufacturing. It means “mistake-proofing.” It is the concept of adding simple design features that make it almost impossible for errors to occur.

Examples of Poka Yoke in every day life:

  1. Washing machines won’t work with the door open, which prevents a laundry tsunami in your house.
  2. Child resistant caps for medicine bottles and chemicals to keep curious children from consuming the contents.
  3. The earth pin on an electric plug is longer than the live and neutral pins, making the earth pin the first to connect and the last to disconnect, properly grounding the connection for improved safety.
  4. Sinks in the bathroom and kitchen have overflow outlets to keep your house from becoming a swimming pool if the drain becomes blocked.
  5. Elevator doors have a sensor that causes them to open if there is obstruction. This prevents the squishing of objects, pets or people.
  6. Lawn mowers have a safety bar on the handle that stops the blade when it is released, preventing scenes like this.
  7. Microwave ovens do not work until the door is closed, preventing injury from hot food explosions (and spaghetti messes).
  8. Many cars now have automatic braking systems to stop the vehicle if the driver fails to brake when an obstacle suddenly appears.

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