Resources - Quality Systems

Juran on Safety

What Joseph M. Juran Might Have Said About Safety

A contemporary of Deming, and a second great contributor to the success of Japan’s management revolution of the 40’s and 50’s, he viewed quality problems an 80% result of weaknesses in the management system; 20% attributable to workers, and would have, no doubt, had the same opinion about the causes of workplace injuries and illness. (Actually, safety gurus such as Dan Peterson and Jerald Geller claim that the percentages are closer to 95% systemic weaknesses to 5% worker unsafe acts).

Like Deming, he admonished managers to avoid campaigns and slogans to motivate the workforce to solve the company’s quality problems. This argument parallels Larry Hansen’s finding that truly “world-class safety cultures” do not rely on slogans and loud, gimmicky safety program campaigns. He favored the use of quality circles because they improved communications between management and labor, and would have surely improved of the idea of management-labor safety committees which have been established for the same purpose.

He argued that, “When it comes to quality, there is no such thing as improvement in general. Any improvement in quality is going to come about project by project and no other way.” This parallels Deming’s feeling that change must occur slowly, a little at a time to properly observe the results and take appropriate action (Plan - Do - Check - Act). To Juran there are two kinds of quality: “fitness for use” and “conformance to specifications.” Juran might have possibly considered safety in terms of “safe design of equipment and compliance with safety rules.”

Juran’s 10-Steps to Quality Improvement Applied to Safety

  1. Build awareness of the need and opportunity for improvement. Education and training by supervisors and managers is critical. But first, they must, themselves, believe in the importance of safety to the success of the company.
  2. Set goals for improvement. Establish goals in safety activities such as safety meetings, recognition (for appropriate behavior), and education and training. Don’t set numerical goals reflecting results. Have faith that results will improve as a result of increased safety activities.
  3. Organize to reach the goals (establish a quality council, identify problems, select projects, appoint teams, designate facilitators). The safety committee is really only a first step. Some companies have specialized safety committees that attempt to improve the safety in their particular work areas. Not much work has been done in this area.
  4. Provide training. Preferably by first line supervisors or competent persons who understand correct safety principles and procedures.
  5. Carry out projects to solve problems. A project is a problem scheduled for solution. Again, a properly trained safety committee or team can function successfully to solve safety problems. Effective training is the key here.
  6. Report progress. Safety committees, or other groups working on safety, need to understand that they actually play the role of a consultant, and need to communicate regularly with their internal customers (workers and management). The safety committee should “brag,” so to speak, about the savings they have brought to the company through the identification and correction of hazards.
  7. Give recognition. For appropriate behavior: complying with safety standards, reporting injuries, and reporting hazards. The incentive is not important...only the act of being recognized matters to the employee long term. A simple verbal recognition (more than just a “thanks”) is meaningful.
  8. Communicate results. It’s critical that management have a clear understanding of the benefits the safety director or safety committee have brought to the company. Usually this means the bottom line.
  9. Keep score. How are we doing this year, compared to last year, in safety activities. I’m not talking about an annual rating, but rather a comparison with the past to project activity into the future.
  10. Maintain momentum by making annual improvement part of the regular systems and processes of the company. We have to part ways with Juran here: How about “continual safety improvement” instead of annual improvement.

Source: OSHAcademy

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