We also refer to the process of walking in order to seek out waste as going on a muda walk. Muda, for those that don’t know, is the Japanese word for waste.
This is great. Seeking out waste (i.e. motion, waiting, transportation) is important. Very important.
But, believe it or not, it is far from the most important thing you can do during a muda walk.
No, the most important opportunities you can seek out during muda walks are safety issues. You see, without a safe working environment nothing else matters. Nothing.
So, if you don’t already do this, be sure to keep a look out for any and all safety opportunities during your next muda walk.
Here’s a short list of 5 things to keep a look out for.
- Personal Protective Equipment – Are all associates, including managers, wearing the correct PPE? The requirements will vary by industry but some of the most common PPE are safety glasses, hard hats, ear protection, and gloves.
- Cheater Bars – In most situations the use of “cheater bars” or short pipes placed onto the end of a wrench or tool in order to increase leverage are not safe and shouldn’t be used. There are ways to make this safe – such as to permanently attach extensions made of common materials.
- Electrical Hazards – Your local safety experts will be able to guide you on the specifics for your location… but if you ever see 12 electrical extension cords tied together chances are you’re witnessing a serious safety hazard. Likewise, any other electrical safety concern should be addressed immediately even if it means stopping production.
- Machine Guarding – Make sure all machine guards are in place and functioning correctly. Often times machine operators will defeat safety interlocks in order to speed things up. This is very dangerous and can lead to serious problems – including death.
- Ergonomics – One of the most common reasons for back injuries and muscle strains is improper lifting. So, if you witness employees lifting more than they should be – or using a poor lifting technique – be sure to coach them, and the entire workforce, accordingly.
Do you seek out safety opportunities during your muda walks? If so, what things do you look for?