Dec 2, 2007

Safety is the foundation - Taiichi Ohno

Quality, delivery, cost, safety and morale (QDCSM) are all important goals at Toyota. Taiichi Ohno said that safety comes before everything else. “Every method available for man-hour reduction to reduce cost must, of course, be pursued vigorously,” he said, according to JeffreymLiker’s book, The Toyota Way, “ but we must never forget that safety is the foundation of all our activities. There are times when improvement activities do not proceed in the name of safety. In such instances, return to the starting point and take another look at the purpose of that operation.” (Excuse the poor diagrams - they came from a PDF of Toyota's 2006 Sustainability Report and a published PPT file and need to be redrawn.)

Toyota today places safety and health firmly in its sustainability strategy. (Toyota Sustainability Report 2006) They are connected to the very foundation of a corporation. “Safety is management itself,” says one maxim, and everyone from senior executives to factory floor employees is expected to take responsibility for placing safety first.

Toyota’s fifth five-year safety and health policy covers the period from FY2005 to FY2009. Among its goals are zero designated occupational diseases, those that result from dust and noise, or musculoskeletal disorders, and zero STOP6 accidents, those that result in death or disability. The STOP6 accidents are:

Being caught in a machine,
Collision with a heavy object,
Collision with a vehicle,
Electric shocks, and
Contact with a heated object

Important goals of the five-year policy are to raise the level of workplace safety skills and to continue implementing and improving proactive prevention activities. Toyota wants to build a workplace environment that is healthy for the mind and body, working to address lifestyle issues such as smoking and obesity, and improving mental health measures.

In FY2005, Toyota addressed basic steps to raise workplace safety levels and to increase the visual representation (mieruka) of all accidents, including minor ones. It implemented new ergonomic measures to prevent musculoskeletal disorders, and promoted stronger measures against noise and dust. Perhaps more importantly, it introduced a comprehensive occupational safety and health management system (OSHMS).

During FY2005, there were no fatal accidents, and the number of STOP6-type accidents and designated occupational diseases remained flat or increased only slightly. Measures against asbestos in facilities and buildings were begun, scheduled for completion in 2006 for facilities and the end of FY2007 for buildings.

Also in FY 2005, the Toyota Safety and Health Global Vision 21 was adopted. This program is designed to standardize the creation of safe and healthy workplaces through a PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) cycle based on OSHMS as specified by the International Labor Organization (ILO.) It started in Japan in 2006 and will be rolled out internationally.

Toyota Safety and Health Global Vision 21

The overall Plan phase of the system with its interlocking PDCA cycles begins with the Toyota Safety and Health Promotion Division. It will begin to clarify health and safety policies, with information gathered from Toyota and external organizations.

The Do phase will take place as overseas affiliates, holding companies, and plants adopt and implement safety and health plans, with support and audits from the corporate level.

Internal production preparation divisions will perform the Check phase, conducting system audits. There will be a feedback loop between the internal production preparation divisions and the corporate level to continue policy clarification.

The Act phase will be carried out, initially in Japan through out its housing works and plants, as it receives a review of OSHMS from the internal production preparation divisions’ system audits. Information from the plants will go to the corporate safety and health promotion organization, which will also provide support and audits to the plants.

Information will be exchanged between each of the four entities in the system, with support and audits coming from the corporate entity to each of the other three. PDCA cycles will also be carried out between each point of the overall cycle.

Safety: The Toyota Way
Phil Bluck, safety and security manager, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc., Cambridge, Ontario, says “Safety First” is a corporate value supported from the top down at Toyota.

Speaking at the 2006 conference held by the Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA)
in London, Ontario, Bluck said Toyota has a top-down commitment to safety, and a belief that safety underlies overall organizational performance. He stated, “A workplace that is strong in safety will demonstrate its strength through quality and production.”

Toyota’s Cambridge facility, which opened in 1986, employs 4300 workers. Its worker-focused vision says, “Team Members will thrive in an environment where safety, mutual trust, open communication and opportunities for personal growth are encouraged.” In the realm of safety, its vision says, “Our behaviors, words, actions and processes will consistently reinforce the principle of safety first.” TMMC Cambridge aims to be the safest auto plant in North America.

Bluck showed how Toyota’s principle of respect for people and mutual trust are related to the desired safety culture, job satisfaction, pride in one’s job and motivation, team member engagement, and effective listening.
Toyota is striving for zero accidents. Accident prevention begins in vehicle design and continues through process/equipment planning and preparation. Standardized processes are developed for vehicle production. Feedback is collected through suggestions for kaizen activities to check if equipment is inherently safe, and may result in improvements to vehicle design and process and equipment planning. As standardized processes are modified through continuous improvement, safety checks are performed. Periodic checks are also made to ensure that equipment is safe. Throughout the manufacturing process, training is conducted and abnormalities are identified for kaizen improvement.

Bluck said managers are responsible for securing the safety of employees by:

Ensuring that safety policies or workplace rules are followed
Developing a “manager’s eye” to see unsafe conditions and practices
Establishing, implementing, and following up on the prevention activity cycle
Promoting the identification of unsafe conditions and safety kaizen activities with employees

Attention to what TMMC calls ergonomic burden can result in improvements to both employee safety and productivity. Bluck gave the IAPA conference audience an example from the Lexus production line.

Before the process was improved it took 58 seconds to install one fender on a Lexus SUV, with 19 of them spent walking and carrying three jigs used to ensure the fender’s proper fit. Jigs and parts were kept on a nearby flow rack. The result of a kaizen was to design a cart that would transport and hold all the jigs and required parts while the worker installed the fender.

The number of “dance steps,” as Bluck called them, went from eleven to three, with less time spent carrying the jigs. Worker satisfaction improved, fender fit accuracy from 96.8% to 99%, and the risk of musculoskeletal injury went down.
TMMC safety management cycle


Anonymous said...

Great information Karen. Thank you.

Unknown said...

That's a great article. I'm a health and safety consultant in the UK and only wish I could get get some of my clients to adopt the same mentality when it comes to health and safety.

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