YKK Stories

2020-01-13 Issue 129 – Fundamental Behavior 2 – Be Vigilant About Safety

January 13, 2020
Author: YKK
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Last week we began our sixth round of Fundamental Behaviors.  As we turn to Behavior #2, Be Vigilant About Safety, I re-read the previous five installments on this particular behavior.  Alex Gregory instructed us to take care of ourselves and others.  Jim Reed reminded us there are no little things when it comes to safety.  Allen Bogenschutz challenged us to proactively free our work environment of hazards.  Kobayashi-san showed us a Japanese method of pointing and calling out safety checklists.  Aza Shumate listed practices to take safety to another level.

Those who know me well know that I am a history buff.  I enjoy history because I believe there are lessons to be learned from studying the past.  As I briefly captured in the paragraph above, there is plenty of wisdom in our past “Be Vigilant About Safety” messages.  In just those five installments, we have the framework for an effective safety management system.  If we set a cultural context of taking care of ourselves and of each other, we naturally build a safety conscious environment.  Such a culture blossoms when we hold ourselves accountable to rules and refuse to take shortcuts—even on those seemingly ‘little’ things—because our commitment will be an example.  That example will energize everyone to think and talk about safety and to report near misses, submit improvement ideas or seek to understand why certain rules exist.  When everyone is involved, culture hits a critical mass.  That’s when even hidden risks can be identified, prioritized and systematically eliminated using such methods as Pointing and Calling.  And, as in any good management system, a method for continuous improvement keeps the inertia going.

Those are the thoughts of my predecessors repackaged to exhibit our collective wisdom for being vigilant about safety.  And, perhaps, therein lies the value of our Fundamental Behaviors—they are the building blocks of a healthy and robust corporate culture.

John Jennings
Director, Product Engineering
Tape Craft Corporation