Thursday, December 4, 2008

Quick setup is safe setup

When setup reduction is first discussed, one of the concerns is whether safety will be compromised. After all, the thinking goes, it must be necessary to work faster to set up faster; and that can only lead to mistakes, and possibly injury.

What is found is quite the opposite: setup reduction leads to improvement in safety.

A key element in quick setup is standardization of all activities. This means that each activity is analyzed, and a standard set of movements for each participant is developed. Whether it is how to handle heavy items, or where to stand during their movement, for example, safety can be integrated into the standard work of setup. The need for precision in all aspects of the setup thus has a direct impact on safety.

Improvement in safety also comes from better organization and cleanliness, which are essential to faster setup. There are reduced chances for slipping, for unexpected sharp edges, and for awkward reaching or using incorrect tools.

Finally, setup takes place more often, and therefore there are more opportunities to find unsafe conditions and practices, and to correct them. Participants are also better practiced due to increased frequency of setup.