Category: News

Developing a 5S Implementation Team

5S implementation

Now that you’ve identified 5S as a critical ingredient to your company’s success, it’s time to create a team to supervise and enforce the system. Although everyone in the company should be involved in the 5S strategy, it’s essential to appoint a specific group of employees to lead the effort. 

The 5S implementation team should consist of at least 4 to 12 members coming from all levels of the organization. This can include one or two members of the following:

  • Senior management
  • Middle management
  • Supervisor
  • Safety officer
  • Facility staff
  • HR staff
  • Front-line employees

Having a diverse implementation team will allow the company to address the problems at each department or level of the organization. Plus, representation from all levels of the organization encourages every employee to put forth suggestions and be updated on all decisions.

The 5S implementation team may work as a whole or be divided into subcommittees handling different areas, such as communications, visual cues, training, project support, etc.  Cobra Systems provides a tool that will help this team implement.

How to Create an Effective 5S Compliance Program

Once a team is established, it’s time to train them so everyone understands the 5S system, its pillars, and its application. The training should also involve observing the area where the work is actually done. Then, gather the important information needed by doing the on-the-ground work to identify the root problems of the specific work areas.

Next is to put the 5S strategy into action. Choose specific areas in the workplace as “pilot” areas for the 5S implementation. Then follow the five S acronym to start creating an efficient workplace. Here’s a guide on how you can begin the pilot roll-out:

  • Take a photo of the current condition of your chosen pilot work area so you can compare it later after the 5S is implemented.
  • First, clean the working area by sorting or separating the necessary and unnecessary items. Remove clutter, waste, and other stuff that has NO value and only takes up the space of the area. 
  • Organize the remaining items in the working area. Arrange them in a systematic and logical way. Improve organization by using tool organizers, relocating machines, and industrial printers to create safety signs, labels, and stickers.
  • Clean the workspace by removing dirt, clutter, and unimportant items that make it hard to work productively. 
  • As for the items that have been removed from the area, you can categorize them in four ways. You can either recycle, sell, donate, or throw them away.
  • Take a photo of the area to compare the differences before and after 5S implementation.

Now that the work area is clean and orderly, the next course of action is to find ways to maintain and keep it that way. Here’s where 5S compliance procedures come into the fold.

The implementation team should standardize the best practices applied during the sorting and organizing phase. Establish written procedures, policies, and standards of conduct to maintain cleanliness and orderliness in the workspace. 

Furthermore, a written compliance procedure makes everything official and will foster uniformity within the organization. The team should oversee, monitor, and enforce the 5S standards and compliance program to identify vulnerabilities or issues.

 

Why do you need a good industrial printer? Cobra System is the home of unique industrial printing solutions!

10 Reasons Why You Need a Vinyl Sign and Label Printer for Your Business

Do You Need an Industrial Printer for Your Workplace?

How to Choose What 5S Industrial Printer to Buy?

 

How to Sustain 5S Compliance Procedures

Implementing compliance procedures can be challenging, especially for large organizations adopting new systems. So here are some tips on how you can successfully execute the 5S compliance procedures in your company:

1. Conduct Training and Education

Discuss and educate all employees regarding the established policies and operating procedures. Conduct a training program so every company member knows the expectations and can comply with the standardized methods. Give annual refreshers or seminars when changes are made in the compliance procedures.

2. Develop an Open Line of Communication in All Levels

Let it be known that employees can proactively communicate with the 5S team or committee regarding any questions. The company should also create an anonymous way to report issues, compliance violations, and ethical concerns.

3. Establish Internal Monitoring and Auditing

Measure the effectiveness of your 5S standards and compliance procedures by conducting internal auditing or monitoring. Identify risks, problems, and concerns so the team can address these issues and improve them.

The implementation team should also allow employees to give feedback and suggestions regarding the newly established procedures.

4. Take Corrective Action

After determining the vulnerabilities of the standardized procedure, it’s time to take corrective actions. Gather suggestions from the team and the front-line employees to resolve specific work area issues. Implement new compliance procedures, monitor, then make revisions if needed.

 

Do You Need an Industrial Printer for Your Workplace? Learn more.

 

5S system to follow

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How can the 5S methodology benefit your company?

The main purpose of the 5S system is to help every company create a quality work environment by improving safety and organization. Once a company achieves these attributes, it won’t be long until they see maximum workplace productivity and efficiency that would result in an increase in ROI.

How can it improve safety inside the workplace?

The 5S methodology strongly advocates for cleanliness and orderliness in the workplace to eliminate hazards and health risks. This, in turn, help enhance the overall safety of both employers, employees, and consumers.

What institutions can benefit from 5S?

Typically, the 5S system is implemented mostly in the manufacturing industry, industrial facilities, and office administration. However, a lot of other industries can actually benefit by implementing the 5S methodology. This includes:

  • Hospitals and other health-related facilities
  • Hotel and restaurant industry
  • Retail stores and grocery
  • Information and communication technology
  • Housekeeping and homemaking services

Why does 5S fail in some organizations?

In every venture, there’s always a risk of failure; the same goes for the 5S method. The system sometimes leads to failure for various reasons. The most common ones include lack of financial resources, little to no support from senior leadership, wavering commitment of employees, and lack of direction.

Where should I start?

Whether you’re a large business or start-up, the best way to start 5S is by understanding and learning the system. Invest in a good training workshop for EVERYONE. It’s also important to get support from the management, senior office, and employers in implementing the system.

 

Implement a 5S system in your workplace

Creating 5S compliance procedures may seem like a huge project but not if you have the right tools to implement it. If you’re thinking of adopting the 5S system into your workplace, then we can happily help you implement it by providing a portable printer that will support your 5s program.

At Cobra Systems, we provide high-quality industrial identification printing systems and product solutions. We can supply you with the right printer that can meet the needs of specific industry-related applications. 

Contact us at 805-243-3462 to start creating sustainable 5s signs and labels using our VnM Signmaker.

 

Want to explore more options? Check out more article about safety solutions in your workplace.

How to Ensure Safety and Compliance in Your Company

How to Improve Warehouse Efficiency

 

 

Filed under: 5S Methodology, Blog, News, Workplace SafetyTagged with: , , , ,

How to Ensure Safety and Compliance in Your Company

Professional,Engineer,Checking,Machine,Walk,Through,Giant,Motor

You’ve probably heard this many times, but the truth remains that employees are the heart of any company. No matter what industry you operate in or how big your business is, your team will play a key role in your company’s success. They’re the ones acting to help reach your organization’s goals, so it’s only fitting that you give them a safe environment to work in.

Ensuring safety compliance in the workplace is key to protecting your people and keeping them away from injury or harm. By taking care of your employees, your employees can take care of your company in return. To help you achieve this, here’s a guide outlining safety compliance and important OSHA regulations you should follow to protect your workers. 

OSHA Compliance: Laws and Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the governing body in charge of establishing workplace safety and health regulations. It provides general rules for all employers and more specific OSHA standards for certain industries. If you’re unfamiliar with these provisions, here’s a list of the main laws and regulations you need to follow.

OSH Act of 1970

The OSH Act of 1970 marked the establishment of OSHA, which led people to become more aware of the importance of workplace safety. According to its General Duty Clause, business owners must give their employees a work environment that’s free from hazards and risks that can cause injury, illness, or death. As an employer, here are your general responsibilities:

  • Examine the workplace to ensure compliance with OSHA standards
  • Provide employees with appropriate safety tools and equipment
  • Create safety training programs that employees can follow and understand 
  • Use color codes, signs, labels, and posters to mark workplace hazards
  • Develop a hazard communication plan (HCP) for workplaces with chemical hazards
  • Authorize a company representative to guide the OSHA compliance officer during inspections
  • Update standard operating procedures (SOPs) for health and safety
  • Put up a poster outlining your employees’ workplace health and safety rights 
  • Maintain records for work-related injuries and illnesses  

Color Coding | 29 CFR 1910.144 and ANSI/NEMA Z535 

OSHA has a standard color-coding system you should use to mark workplace hazards. These rules can be found in the OSHA Laws & Regulations, Standard 29 CFR 1910.144. However, since the OSHA standards only provide guidelines for the safety colors red and yellow, you can also use the ANSI Z535.1 standards for other hazards. 

Here’s a summary of the color-coding rules based on the two national standards:

  • Red: Red denotes the presence of fire protection equipment or provides warning for stop and danger signs. Some scenarios that call for red signs would be safety cans, containers with flammable liquids, and emergency stop buttons and switches.
  • Orange: You should use orange for warning signs to state the presence of dangerous equipment that can injure workers. Much like how orange is a “less intense” color than red, the machines that get a warning sign will be those that may still have serious hazards—but not as severe as those with the red danger sign. 
  • Yellow: Yellow is used to signal caution and mark physical hazards like tripping, falling, striking against, and stumbling. In short, this color is for hazards that can cause injuries if workers are not careful. Examples of when to use a yellow sign are around wet floors and moving equipment. 
  • Green: In contrast to the previous colors, green denotes safety. You’ll often see this color in general safety signs like eye wash foundations, first aid kits, and sanitation guidelines. 
  • Blue: Blue is also not used to mark hazards but to relay information, usually for safety precautions or maintenance notices. 

29 CFR 1910 (General Industry)

OSHA’s general industry standards apply to all businesses that aren’t in the construction, agriculture, or maritime industries. These are the general safety requirements applicable for the majority of businesses:

  • Design training for employees using fall protection systems 
  • Provide protective equipment whenever necessary 
  • Implement administrative or engineering controls to reduce exposure to occupational noise
  • Follow proper storage and handling of hazardous materials
  • Ensure proper drainage in all sites used as temporary employee housing
  • Guard machines to prevent contact hazards
  • Maintain safety of tools and spaces used by employees

29 CFR 1926 (Construction)

Construction workers are vulnerable to many work related injuries due to hazards like falls and broken bones. So if you run a construction site, you’ll need to follow more specific OSHA standards to ensure that your workers get maximum protection. Here are the key provisions mandated for the construction industry:

  • Provide fall protection for employees working on walking surfaces with unprotected edges
  • Train employees to use stairways and ladders safely
  • Stabilize and secure ladders on slippery surfaces
  • Provide a fire extinguisher with at least a 2A rating for every 3,000 square feet
  • Assign competent people to conduct routine inspections of the worksite and materials
  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) for all 120-volt outlets
  • Follow requirements for spacing and numbering of wire rope clips 

29 CFR 1928 (Agriculture)

Agriculture is another industry that OSHA monitors closely since workers are more exposed to hazards, especially due to the use of chemicals. Statistics from the US Bureau of Labor recorded 574 fatalities in the industry in 2018, indicating a high risk for occupational injuries.

Given this, the 29 CFR 1928 outlines these standards to strengthen safety among agricultural workers. Here are main regulations to follow, including OSHA general industry standards that are applicable for farm safety: 

  • Implement roll-over protective structures on tractors and other equipment
  • Provide adequate water, toilet facilities, and handwashing stations for field workers
  • Follow proper rules on the use, storage, and handling of anhydrous ammonia 
  • Label toxic and hazardous substances like fungicides and pesticides

29 CFR 1915, 1917, and 1918 (Maritime)

Finally, maritime is the last industry where OSHA has specific standards for safety compliance. Like construction, maritime workers are also susceptible to hazards like trips and falls, machine risks, and hazardous chemicals. So here are the maritime regulations mandated by OSHA:

  • Provide suitable respiratory protective equipment for workers exposed to toxic vapors
  • Maintain safety of working surfaces, ladders, and access to vessels
  • Provide adequate mechanical ventilation for welding, cutting, and heating activities
  • Ensure that scaffolds are all capable of supporting their designated load
  • Provide employees with carriers for tools, materials, and equipment
  • Guard danger zones for machines and equipment
  • Inspect all parts of the cargo handling gear 

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The Importance of Safety Compliance in the Workplace

On the business side, OSHA compliance translates to many financial benefits. By taking precautions and implementing safety programs for your employees, you can prevent accidents and the costly bills that come with them.

To give you some perspective, businesses can save $4 to $6 for every dollar they invest in health and safety programs for their employees. You can also save a significant amount from workers compensation insurance due to reduced work injuries and illnesses. Moreover, you won’t need to worry about possible fines or downtime from OSHA violations. 

That said, beyond the monetary benefits, OSHA compliance ultimately allows you to promote a culture of safety. By emphasizing workplace safety and health, you and your team will better recognize hazards and take action to prevent injury and illness.

In doing this, you not only increase safety but also improve employee morale. Employees who see your efforts to provide a workplace free of hazards will feel happier, at ease, and more motivated to work. In effect, these will translate to higher productivity.

How to Improve Your Company’s Health and Safety Compliance

It’s important to understand that safety and compliance are two different things. It’s not enough to simply be aware of the OSHA standards and regulations. You’ll also need to ensure compliance. So whether you’re designing a new safety and health program or improving current protocols, here are actionable tips to improve workplace safety compliance. 

  • Provide Safety Training

Safety compliance is a joint effort between employers and employees. Thus, you need to train your employees on how to use different tools and equipment, how to handle materials, and what protective gear to use. From time to time, it’s also important to give refresher courses to remind your staff of the safety regulations.

  • Display the OSHA Poster

Find a visible area in your worksite to display the OSHA poster. This should outline your employees’ health and safety rights, so they’re aware at all times. By doing this, you can promote transparency and show your team that you care about their welfare. Likewise, employees can give proper feedback on how well your workplace is complying with the regulations.

  • Install Safety Signs

As highlighted in the OSHA regulations, using safety signs is critical to mark different degrees of hazards. They act as visual cues to warn your employees of dangers and instruct them on what to do to avoid accidents on the job. 

  • Invest in High-Quality Industrial Printers

If you have a large workplace, you’ll probably need to print out many signs to display all around. In such cases, it would be more economical to invest in a high-quality industrial printer to create your signs. 

  • Conduct Regular Compliance Audits

It’s important to conduct compliance audits regularly to know how you’re faring in terms of OSHA compliance. To do this, you’ll need to go through all the applicable OSHA standards and check to see if you’re following all the practices. Document the results of your audit and work with your safety team to come up with an action plan from there.

  • Collect Employee Feedback

It’s always helpful to get feedback from people on the ground—your employees. They’re the ones with first-hand experience in your workplace, so their input will be highly valuable. By having a feedback system that they can turn to, you can identify gaps in your safety program.

How Cobra Systems Can Help Your Company Comply With Safety Standards

We know how important the safety of your team is. Allow Cobra Systems to help the pressure off of yourself as you work to enhance safety compliance. We offer a range of workplace safety solutions to help, no more combing through catalogs to try to find the right solution and then waiting for shipment. Our industrial signage and safety labels are designed to be clear and durable, allowing you to ensure your workers’ protection and send the message that safety is a top priority. 

Cobra Systems also has products like the VNM industrial printer, which you can invest in to create your signs with a quick touch of a button. The printer is designed with various OSHA-compliant colors, so you can easily follow the color-coding rules. 

Ensuring safety and safety compliance in the workplace doesn’t need to be challenging. With the right tools and equipment in place, you can keep your workers out of harm’s way. To get started, contact Cobra Systems today at 805-243-3683 or through our website.

Filed under: News

5 Reasons to Print Your Own Signs and Labels

Green,Exit,Emergency,Sign,With,White,Lettering,On,A,Brick

Whether you’re a warehouse manager, facilities manager, or jobsite coordinator, you understand the importance of a safe and efficient workplace. You’re responsible for making sure that all operations are running smoothly, efficiently, and on budget. That’s no easy task, so it’s important to set yourself up for success as often as possible. 

In order to keep your warehouse, facility or jobsite compliant with safety regulations, you’ll need a variety of safety signs, tags and markers. Everything from fire extinguishers and exits to first aid kit locations must be properly marked so that employees and visitors can easily locate and use them in the event of an emergency. You will also need proper signage to indicate workplace hazards, the need for personal protective equipment (PPE), and what people should and should not do in your facility. 

In the long run, having your own printer for signs and labels can save you time and money in a variety of ways. It can lower overall signage costs, improve efficiency, and make your workplace safer for visitors and employees alike. Plus, a printer is a one-time investment that’s easy to use for years to come.

Helps Control Signage Costs

Your facility or jobsite needs signs for a variety of reasons. Whether you need to mark an uneven floor, show the way to the nearest fire exit, or display the location of different items in your inventory. It can be expensive ordering all the necessary signs, especially if you have to order them from many different manufacturers and pay shipping costs over and over again. 

When you have your own printer and a variety of vinyl sizes and colors, you won’t need to purchase anything else to create the safe and efficient environment you and your employees deserve.

Improves Your Efficiency

You have plenty of work to do without adding on the responsibility of finding and buying the right safety signs and labels for your workplace. Instead of adding shopping for signs to your list of things to do, you can print your own as soon as you need it. Besides, by the time you find the right sign, order it, and wait for it to arrive, someone could get hurt or an accident could happen due to the lack of signage. 

Printing your own labels can also help you keep your warehouse or storage facility clean and organized. When everyone knows where things should be stored, you’ll reduce time wasted searching for misplaced items.

When you have your own industrial vinyl printer, you can create signs and labels of the highest quality as soon as you need them. No orders, no waiting.

Improves Workplace Safety

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 5,333 fatal workplace-related injuries in the United States in 2019. Many of these were due to falls, slips, and trips, fires, or exposure to harmful chemicals. While not all accidents are avoidable, the more awareness you can bring to potential hazards, the better it is for you and your employees. 

OSHA requirements state that you must have proper signage to keep employees and visitors safe while they’re on your premises. From fire exits and do not enter signs to chemical hazards and slippery floor signs, you’ve got to make sure every potential hazard is properly labeled. 

It’s important to stay on top of your signage as things change in your facility, and it takes a lot of careful planning when you have to order signs ahead of time. If you can’t create signs as needs come up, you may be leaving your employees unprotected. If someone is injured due to lack of signage, you could face serious consequences.

One-Time Investment

Once you purchase an industrial vinyl printer for your business, it will pay for itself over and over again in time saved and safety gained. Instead of ordering new signs constantly, or worse, going without signs you really should have, you’ll already have everything you need to print them on demand. 

By buying a few different types of printing media at the same time, you can get a variety of signs, labels, and stickers whenever you need them.

Easy to Use

Industrial vinyl printers are extremely easy to use. There’s no tricky software to learn, and you don’t need any design skills either. If you’re using a VnM SignMaker by Cobra Systems, there are plenty of video tutorials on our website to make the process even easier for you. 

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Start Printing Your Own Signs and Labels Today

Running a safe and efficient jobsite or facility is difficult enough. When you gain the ability to print your own safety signs, pipe markers, barcode signs, GHS labels, aisle markers, and more, you can make your job just a little easier. 

Don’t put up with the hassle of ordering your signs and labels anymore. If you’re ready to print your own signs whenever you need them, contact us today! You’ll be able to create a safer, more efficient work environment with the push of a button.

Filed under: News

How to Choose What 5S Industrial Printer to Buy?

VNM8 industrial printer

When buying an industrial printer for your business, you need to consider several factors; you don’t just buy on a whim and hope for the best. If you choose the wrong printer, you will end up disappointed in the way it works or the way it prints. 

With hundreds of 5S printers available on the market today, you should take your time before purchasing one. While they all perform similar tasks, not all have the capability to produce the printed items you need. 

No matter what you’re after there’s a printer for you. This article will discuss what an industrial printer is and what factors you should consider when finding the best one for your needs. 

What is an Industrial Printer?

VNM8 industrial printer

Industrial printers are created to withstand demanding environments. These printers are made to print signs, labels, and tags to support the implementation of 5S and OSHA standards in your workplace.

Unlike dot matrix and inkjet printers, industrial sign printers use a heated printhead to create extremely durable images and text on premade signs or vinyl media.

Using direct thermal or thermal transfer printing makes a finished product that won’t smudge or rub off, even when placed in the most high-traffic areas. That’s why they’re mainly used in manufacturing, warehouse, and factory settings, where signs and labels need to be extremely durable for 5S purposes and minimizing workplace hazards

Some industrial label printers can handle printing at high volumes, typically around several thousand to over 10,000 prints a day. Other printers are portable and can print signs and labels on demand, wherever you need them. Some printers will require the use of a PC to create designs, while others do not.

safety signs reminders

What to Consider When Choosing an Industrial Printer for Your Business

With so many features and factors to consider when purchasing an industrial printer, it is easy to get overwhelmed. But no need to worry. The first step you need to take is to understand your printing needs. So, when evaluating various options, here are the things you should consider: 

Cost-efficiency

Does buying an industrial printer save your company money in the long run? Are you spending a lot of time and money finding and ordering the right signs for your facility? These are just some questions you should ask before you go ahead and make a big purchase. If the cost can justify the value it will provide, an investment like this can be the best way to go for your company. 

Printing Capability

Apart from the cost and value, you should consider how many labels and barcodes your company needs to print in a day.

Do you need to print your own designs on pre-made signs and vinyl media on a regular basis? Would you like to be able to print them from anywhere in your facility?

If so, you need to look for a printer that can accommodate your needs. Check the type of signs and labels the printer can produce and see if it can cover your daily needs.

Furthermore, you should also consider the colors you need for your prints. If you don’t need a lot of colors, finding a printer that can print the exact colors you need that are OSHA compliant for signs is enough. 

Print Quality

Another thing you should consider is the quality of prints you’ll get. Even if the printer can accommodate the number of printing jobs you need a day, it’s still no use if the quality doesn’t meet your needs. Make sure that the printer can produce prints that can adhere to 5S and OSHA standards so you won’t have to worry about your labels. 

Printer Size

Some industrial printers are large enough to take a lot of space in your office. If you have a smaller workspace, buying a huge printer can take away valuable space. This can be a massive hassle for your workers. If this is your case, buying a smaller industrial printer that can sit on top of a desk is your best option.

While it may not produce larger signs, it will still produce high-quality prints. There are also printers that are not only portable, but they also don’t require computers. These printers can be easily moved throughout the facility so you can make safety signs and labels wherever you need them. 

Sustainability

Whatever electronic device you’re purchasing, you need to make sure that it’s durable enough to withstand the work you need it to do. Printers are not an exception.

For example, many companies think that buying an old printer will save them money. But in the long run, repairs and maintenance can be more expensive than buying a new one. Modern industrial printers may seem like a considerable investment, but they can give you the reliability you need from them.

However, always check the reviews before purchasing to ensure that the printer you choose is as stable as you need it to be. 

Ease of use

Another important thing you should consider when buying an industrial printer is how easy it is to use. Many people who work in offices don’t have the technical capacity to understand complicated machines.

So, make sure that you’ll buy something that can cater to even the most technology-challenged person in your office. Find something that’s simple. From the login, connection, and printing, make sure that they don’t need to go through tedious and complicated processes. 

At the same time, check the interface of the device. Touchscreens, color screens, and screens that have high brightness settings should be on your list. You also need to consider one with a multi-language interface, especially if English isn’t the first language in your country. 

Uses and Applications

Apart from printing, do you need to cover other tasks in your business, such as scanning, memory storage, file transfer, etc.? If so, then many industrial printers offer more than just printing services and can perform other tasks mentioned above. List down all the things you need, and find a printer that can support those. 

Brand

The brand plays an integral role in your device’s reliability and durability. While famous brands may have an already established reputation, they can be expensive compared to lesser-known brands. But popularity doesn’t always equate to reliability.

In fact, many less famous brands can provide the same or better performance and dependability at a much lower cost than industry-leading brands. Choose wisely. 

Warranty

Warranty is a crucial factor to look at when purchasing any expensive machine. You don’t want to get stuck paying to repair a new printer that has problems. At the same time, you should check the coverage of the warranty.

What issues will the manufacturer cover? How long is the machine covered for? This will give you the information you need to properly take care of your industrial printer and get help fixing it if needed. 

Manufacturer/Dealer Support

While warranty gives you peace of mind, manufacturer support provides you with the assistance you need from purchase to after-sales. If there are any technical problems that the manual can’t answer, you need the dealer to be available to answer specific questions and help you fix some issues.

no unauthorized access sign 

Why is Cobra System’s VNM Signmaker Industrial Printer a Good Option for You?

Among hundreds of industrial printers available on the market, the Cobra System’s VNM Signmaker Industrial Printer is one of the few that delivers on its promise. This high-quality printing solution is a stand-alone industrial label and sign printer that requires no computer.

It is easy to use and comes with built-in templates to make all your labeling applications easier and faster than ever. In addition, it is reliable, durable, and the most cost-effective industrial printer you can find. 

If you want to know more about the VNM Signmaker Industrial Printer, contact us today!

Filed under: 5S Methodology, Blog, News, Workplace Safety

6 Types of Workplace Safety Hazards: Identify, Prevent, Solve

workplace safety hazards card

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO,) more than 340 million work-related accidents and 160 million illnesses happen every year. To make matters worse, this number continues to grow over time. While you might not realize it, the reality is that safety hazards exist in every workplace. Even something as simple as wet floors can lead to accidents, injuries, or death if not addressed.

Given this, it’s essential to assess your workplace thoroughly to identify the hazards and put in place proper safety measures. Unfortunately, not all employers are aware of what hazards their workers are subject to, so here’s a quick guide to help you out. As they say—people are at the heart of your business, so it’s essential to protect them at all times.

workplace safety protective equipment sign board

What does OSHA mean? 

In 1970, the US government passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act to provide workplace safety standards for businesses and employers. This act led to the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It’s a federal agency in charge of establishing these standards to ensure employees have safe working conditions. 

OSHA’s General Duty Clause requires all employers to create a hazard-free workplace to protect their employees from harm. OSHA health standards prescribed for general industry cover most businesses. But there are also more specific standards for high-risk industries like construction, maritime, and agriculture since workers here are more vulnerable to hazards.

Safety Hazards in the Workplace According to OSHA 

You might be wondering—what might a safety hazard include? The best way to answer this would be to go through the six main OSHA hazard categories. Here’s a quick run-through of each type to get an idea of what to look for in your workplace risk assessment. 

Safety Hazards

man slipping while at work

Safety hazards include substances and conditions that create unsafe working conditions and increase risks for accidents, injuries, and illnesses. These are the most common types of hazards since you’ll find them in every workplace.

Examples include:

  • Slips and trips
  • Falls from heights
  • Electrical hazards like frayed cords
  • Spills on floors
  • Machinery with moving parts
  • Confined spaces 

Biological Hazards

gloved hand holding a biohazard transparent bag

Biological hazards are substances that threaten the well-being of living organisms—in this case, people. They’re often found in more specific jobs and industries that involve working with people, animals, and plants. For example, individuals working in laboratories, hospitals, or healthcare centers will be most susceptible to this hazard.

Examples include exposure to:

  • Bacteria, mold, and mildew
  • Spores and fungi
  • Animal droppings
  • Blood and bodily fluids
  • Insect bites 
  • Dangerous plants 
  • Bioactive substances

Biological hazards can be particularly dangerous compared to other hazards since long-term exposure can result in severe health risks. Some substances can be so life-threatening that they cause asthma, tuberculosis, cancer, and other diseases that may lead to death. 

Physical Hazards

workers wearing protective equipment against chemicals

Physical hazards are environmental factors that can injure your workers—even without direct contact.

Examples of physical hazards include:

  • Constant exposure to sunlight and UV rays
  • Extreme temperatures 
  • Ionizing and non-ionizing radiation
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Lights and lasers
  • Microwave and radio-frequency
  • High-pressure or low-pressure environments

One of the most common examples of physical hazards is noisy machinery and equipment that can harm your workers’ hearing abilities. To offer some perspective, occupational exposures are the cause of 24% of hearing difficulties in US workers—that’s millions of workers who lose part of their hearing due to hazardous noise, which can be prevented in the first place. Given this staggering number, it’s crucial to provide adequate hearing protection to avoid irreversible hearing problems. 

Ergonomic Hazards

woman setting boxes in order

An ergonomic hazard is present in jobs where working conditions can put a strain on employees’ bodies. It can lead to various musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs), which make up the largest segment of work-related injuries and account for 30% of workers’ compensation costs.

Common ergonomic hazards include the following:

  • Poor posture 
  • Lifting heavy objects 
  • Sitting for long periods
  • Poorly adjusted workstations
  • Repetition of movements
  • Manual labor like pushing and pulling

Unfortunately, these hazards are often harder to detect since the effects usually don’t present themselves immediately. Instead, they tend to progress and build over time. But if you’re familiar with the common ergonomic hazards, you can take action and prevent workers from developing MSDs. 

Chemical Hazards

man wearing personal protective equipment

As the term suggests, chemical hazards refer to toxic chemicals and substances that can cause injuries, illnesses, and possibly even death among your workers. Some substances can be so potent that they can cause health issues from mere inhalation, while others need direct contact. Here are some examples of the hazard:

  • Pesticides
  • Cleaning products and acids
  • Vapors and fumes
  • Gasoline and explosive chemicals
  • Flammable substances like carbon monoxide

Similar to biological hazards, chemical hazards come with a ton of risks, more so if workers are sensitive to them. Chemical burns, skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, and poisoning are just some of the many dangers that threaten your workers. Thus, it’s a non-negotiable to provide employees with proper protective gear if your workplace has chemical hazards.

Work Organization Hazards

a man separating two colleagues having a heated argument

Many are usually familiar with the above 5 hazards in the workplace, but there’s actually a sixth category to watch out for. Work organization hazards refer to stressors—any working condition that can cause stress to employees. They can be present in any workplace, but lone workers are especially vulnerable since they tend to feel isolated. To understand these hazards better, here are the most common examples you should keep an eye on:

  • Workplace violence and aggression
  • Intense workload demands
  • Sexual harassment
  • Flexibility 
  • Bullying
  • Social relations 
  • Control regarding decisions

Examples of Hazards in the Workplace by Industry

Now that you’re more familiar with the many types of hazards that exist in the workplace, here are concrete workplace hazard examples to show you how these risks manifest in different industries. This should give you a better idea of what risks to watch out for in your workplace.

Raw Materials Industry

cantilever loading logs

The raw materials industry is in charge of extracting and processing inputs and raw materials used for manufacturing. Businesses in the industry specialize in a particular type of material, such as steel, aluminum, copper, lumber, gasoline, plastics, ceramics, porcelain, or others.

The health hazards in this industry will vary based on the material being handled, but here are the main types to watch out for:

  • Noise from equipment
  • High temperatures
  • Exposure to chemicals 

Manufacturing and Construction Industry

man looking at construction site

The manufacturing industry transforms raw materials into new products. Conversely, the construction industry works on designing, building, and maintaining buildings, infrastructure, and industrial properties. When you think of health and safety hazards, these two will probably come to mind since you always hear about accidents happening on the job.

Both industries involve working environments with high places, machinery, and chemicals, so they’re unsurprisingly prone to many hazards. Employees are particularly vulnerable to the following:

  • Slips and trips
  • Falls from heights
  • Electrical shocks
  • Hearing damage from loud noise
  • Confined spaces like tanks
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Injuries from repetitive movements 
  • Handling flammable substances 
  • Moving objects 

Service Industry

customer service executives staring at computer screens

The service industry differs from the manufacturing industry in that it creates value through intangible products or services. For example, marketing agencies don’t sell products directly to customers. Instead, they offer their expertise, knowledge, and skills in crafting marketing plans and campaigns for clients.

Service businesses are extremely susceptible to ergonomic hazards —workers tend to stay in the same position for prolonged times, perform repeated movements, and maintain awkward postures, so you can imagine the strain that’s placed on them. Beyond these issues, there are also other risks like:

  • Chemicals from cleaning agents
  • Fires
  • Mental health issues
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Biohazards from toxic waste 

Information Services Industry

man looking at clipboard

The information services industry specializes in collecting, storing, processing, and analyzing different types of information. Examples of businesses in this industry include business process outsourcing (BPOs), consulting, research and development, and others. Generally, companies seek the help of this industry for their expertise and knowledge.

Like the service industry, information service jobs are also prone to ergonomic hazards. Many times, workers stay seated in one place for a long time, increasing the risk for back injury or neck pain. Other hazards common in the industry include:

  • Hearing difficulties from workplace noise
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Electrical hazards 
  • Heavy machinery 

Human Services Industry

caregiver assisting an elderly with a cane

The human services industry is a sub-category under the broader services industry. It covers the businesses that deliver services to benefit and help people, address their needs, and improve their quality of life. Well-known examples include child welfare services, elderly assistance, counseling, personal care services, and the like.

Since this industry usually involves close contact with other people, workers tend to be at risk of contracting biological hazards like mold and pathogens. Aside from this, here are other possible hazards in the industry:

  • Workplace stress and violence
  • Repetitive movement
  • Awkward posture
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Lifting and carrying people
  • Chronic fatigue 

7 Ways to Avoid Workplace Safety Hazards 

Here are some helpful ways to avoid workplace safety hazards. The best practices will vary for every work area, but these should give you a good starting point.

  • Implement a health and safety program for workers
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety equipment, if applicable
  • Monitor employees’ health condition regularly
  • Adjust working stations to ensure proper ergonomics
  • Find industrial printers to make hazard safety signs
  • Inspect electrical systems regularly for potential hazards
  • Perform regular maintenance on your equipment

Beyond this, you can also consider finding a company that specializes in workplace safety solutions for helpful tools to monitor workplace safety effectively.

man using a forklift

FAQs About Safety Hazards in the Workplace 

What factors affect safety and risk?

The main factors affecting workplace safety and risk are people, equipment, processes, materials, and environment. For one, it’s important to educate your employees about the importance of safe work procedures. Likewise, the safety of your tools and machines, materials, and process design can affect the severity of workplace risk. The last factor—environment—is more external, but it’s the main cause of physical hazards. 

How to report a safety hazard?

The federal law protects workers and grants them the right to a healthy workplace. Thus, anyone who is subject to safety hazards without protective measures may file a confidential complaint with OSHA online, in person, through telephone, or through email. The agency will then conduct an inspection to assess the matter and take proper action. 

How do you correct a safety hazard at work?

Managing risks in the workplace starts with identifying hazards. Once you spot a hazard that hasn’t been addressed, assess the risk to determine its potential impact and the workers who are most likely to be affected. From there, you can come up with procedures to fix or mitigate the hazard. If you can’t eliminate it completely, consider substituting or isolating the hazard, providing PPEs, or adjusting work practices. 

Who is responsible for correcting safety hazards?

Employers are in charge of managing safety hazards and correcting them accordingly. As mandated by OSHA, employers need to conduct assessments for hazard identification and install measures to provide a hazard-free environment for workers. In most cases—especially in high-risk industries—companies will delegate the work to a safety department that oversees workplace safety and protocols. 

How should hazards be reported in the workplace?

Should employees notice any hazards in the workplace, they should immediately report this to their supervisor or safety manager, if applicable. If you don’t receive a response from them, you can escalate the issue to the OSHA. As much as possible, try to settle the issue internally before moving up to the government.

Reduce Workplace Safety Hazards With Cobra Systems’ Solutions

While there are many decisions involved in running a business, you can’t ever discount the importance of your people and their safety. It’s extremely important to highlight the safety hazards in your workplace and put in place countermeasures to protect your employees from them. 

By emphasizing the mitigation of workplace safety hazards, you can contribute to reducing the hundreds of millions of work accidents and injuries that occur each year.

If you need someone to help you print safety signages and labels, Cobra Systems offers high-quality printers for workplace safety purposes. Contact us or give us a call today at 805-243-3335 to learn more!

Filed under: 5S Methodology, Blog, News, Workplace Safety

What is 5S: Ultimate Guide To The 5S System

5s methodology

Every workplace has its own set of systems and management techniques to create an efficient work environment. However, there seems to be one specific methodology that stands out: the 5S Methodology. But what is this 5S system?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 100 deaths a week in the workplace were recorded during 2019. In most cases, these accidents in the workplace happen due to unsafe working conditions.

Of course, safety can be challenging to maintain, especially in hazardous industries. But it’s not impossible.

You can create a safe workspace for employees while maximizing productivity and profit. One example is adopting a new system or protocol that can transform every workplace into an organized, efficient, and safe environment. One such system is called the 5S methodology.

So, here is everything you need to know about the 5S principle and approach and why every workplace should adopt this system.

What Is 5S?

5S refers to a systematic work methodology that uses visual management to build a quality work environment. It involves 5 steps that workers need to follow systematically to create an efficient workplace with fewer injuries and wasted downtimes.

Furthermore, its purpose is to maintain order and cleanliness within the workplace to yield maximum productivity and value.

What Does 5S Stand For?

what is 5s methodology

Originally, 5S comes from 5 Japanese terms starting with the letter S: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. Below is the 5S Japanese to English translation and their definitions.

Japanese word English Translation English Version Definition
Seiri organized  

Sort

Sorting through materials to remove unnecessary things from each workplace area.
Seiton orderliness  

Set in Order

Organize the remaining items in a way that will make tasks easier to do.
Seiso cleanliness  Shine Keep each work area clean and orderly.
Seiketsu standardize  

Standardize

Turn seiri, seiton, and seiso into a permanent work routine by standardizing them. 
Shitsuke discipline  

Sustain

Maintain discipline to sustain the newly placed standard procedures.

How Does The 5S Methodology Work?

The 5S method focuses on removing clutter and waste in each working area. Its goal is to give a designated place for necessary materials in the workplace to achieve organization and orderliness.

As a result, workers can enjoy a safe working space where they can do their jobs efficiently and productively. The 5S approach aims to do this by following a specific five-pronged methodology: the Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.

This framework can only work if it’s implemented in its proper sequence. Generally, it will start by removing the clutter and waste in the workplace and organizing the remaining essential items. Next is to clean and inspect the recently-organized work area regularly. Then comes the standardization of the best practices implemented, performing maintenance, and maintaining discipline until 5S becomes a habit.

This methodology applies in any workplace, whether it’s in a healthcare facility or a factory. It is designed to improve an industry’s working environment, which enhances the workers, their output, and the company’s profit and image. 

5S: Before and After Implementation

Here’s a good example of what 5S looks like in action even in a simple desk workspace:

a comparison between two desks before and after 5s implementation

Before 5S, you can see the space as a complete mess of jumbled documents and other office materials. But after implementing 5S, everything is in its proper place with labeled folders to organize and easily track the documents. Plus, there’s now a clean open space where work can be done efficiently. 

Now, imagine this kind of system implemented in a larger setting, such as huge storage locations or factories. Wouldn’t that be a pleasant sight that encourages productivity and safety?

Origin of the 5S System 

Initially, the 5S system started as a part of the “Toyota Production System or TPS” built by the leaders of Toyota Industries (previously known as Toyoda Automatic Loom Works). 

The company created TPS during the early 20th century to solve its increasing manufacturing waste and inefficiencies. The TPS system involves many methodologies that we now know as jidoka, just-in-time manufacturing, kaizen, kanban, and 5S. 

In fact, the 5S became a foundational part of TPS and Toyota, where they believe a clean and organized working environment can consistently yield the best results.

As TPS began to significantly change Toyota Industries for the better, many businesses and industry experts studied the system and implemented it in different workplaces. 

Finally, a JIT expert and engineering educator named Hiroyuki Hirano devised the five pillars of the visual workplace inspired by the TPS and other methodologies within the system. This then evolved into a concept that we now came to know as the 5S methodology.

The 5S system gained more importance as it became the foundation of another systematic methodology called Lean Manufacturing Techniques. Now, 5S can often be heard together with Lean since the former serves as an organizational tool for the latter.

What Are The Benefits of Lean 5S?

Implementing the Lean 5S in the workplace allows both the company and its workers to reap several benefits, such as:

  • Less clutter – organizing the work area and removing unnecessary items results in less clutter and better space storage.
  • Increased work productivity and less idle time – without all that clutter, employees can now do their jobs efficiently and become more productive during their work time. 
  • Improved quality and consistency – standardization of work processes and procedures means decreased product or service mistakes and variations.
  • A safer workplace – a well-organized and clean workplace makes way for a safe working space.
  • Improved employee satisfaction – 5S ensures seamless work processes and procedures, boosting employee morale and satisfaction. 

How Do You Use 5S in the Workplace?

The 5S system is more than just a concept or a five-letter acronym. It is a hands-on tool that establishes workplace organization to benefit both the company and the employees. 

So, here’s an in-depth look at the step-by-step process of the 5S system that safety officers, managers, and business owners can implement.

Sort

worker labeling boxes

The first step of the 5S methodology is the Sort/Seiri. This step aims to clean the working area by removing clutter, waste, and other things that add NO value to a space. 

The ultimate goal of the Sort step is to clear the workspace of unnecessary items to provide an area where you can carry out the next 4S steps. Here’s how it works:

  • The first thing you need to do is go through every item in the working station to evaluate its importance.
  • Use some guide questions to know which items need to stay or be removed. Some examples include: “How frequently do we use this material?” or “When was the last time this tool was used?”

To accurately sort the items, it’s important to categorize them in four ways:

  • Keep – items in this category are essential to your workplace’s daily operations.
  • Remove – unnecessary items that need to be thrown away to make more space in the working area (e.g., broken tools, expired chemicals).
  • Probation – during sorting, you will likely encounter some unknown items on the way. In this case, it’s important to note these materials or “red-tag” them and keep them in a separate space. Other employees may assess the red-tagged items to see if there are items that originally belong to their workstations. Items may only be placed in the probation area for a specific number of days. After that, you need to either sell, recycle, or discard them.
  • Recycle – items in this category are those that may still be useful for other employees or departments in the workplace. 

It’s important to remember that the best people to do the “sorting” process should be the ones who actually use the working area.

Set in Order

orderly workplace

Next is the Set in Order step, wherein workers should organize the remaining items in the work area. Here are some pro tips on how to organize things efficiently:

  • Arrange the tools, materials, or equipment in a systematic and logical way. This means that you should think about the specific tasks that the items will be used for when arranging them. For example, you should place tools near the place where it’s frequently used. Or store materials in a central location if other teams need to share them. 
  • Make sure to arrange materials in a way that makes sense. This way, employees can work seamlessly without obstructions or blocking one another.
  • Utilize a 5S diagram or floorplan to strategically arrange large pieces of equipment or storage areas. You can also use shadow boards that feature the outline of specific materials so people will get familiar with their rightful place.
  • Another consideration you should make is the people who work in the area. For example, are they tall, short, left-handed, or right-handed.
  • Once everything has its designated place, it’s time to label their storage bins and specific locations. 

Shine

out of service tag for broken equipment

Shine or seiso refers to the “cleaning” phase of the 5S methodology. Once the clutter has been removed, and everything’s arranged, it’s time to remove the dirt and polish the working space. 

The Shine phase’s main goal is to clean the workspace to work efficiently while producing quality products or services. Furthermore, Shine also makes cleaning a habit that every worker should do regularly. Some examples include regularly sweeping the area, weekly quality control checks, or monthly tools and equipment maintenance. 

Additionally, a thorough and regular cleaning eventually leads to a safer work environment. Plus, regular maintenance will make it easier to spot problems or defects before they even get out of hand.

Standardize

woman setting boxes in order

Standardize or seiketsu simply refers to the standardization of the practices implemented in Sort, Set in Order, and Shine. The Standardize phase is where you will make everything official by putting it into writing, such as creating an SOP or standard operating procedure. 

Having a standard procedure or process for everything helps people maintain cleanliness and orderliness. Moreover, the best practices implemented will become the universally understood system for every employee, which helps maintain the consistency and quality of every output.

Additionally, standardization helps prevent both employees and employers from sliding back to their old habits. Here are some pro tips on how you can easily enforce this in the workplace:

  • Create daily, weekly, and monthly schedules so workers can get familiar with their daily tasks before, during, and after their work duties.
  • Create an individual step-by-step procedure for every work process, or you can use a checklist.
  • Provide visual cues of procedures or steps to remind employees working in that specific station. Some visual tools to use include labels, posters, floor marking tape, and tool organizers.

But remember, standardization of procedures should not be set in stone. Companies should be open to changing their SOPs if the current ones don’t serve their purpose anymore. 

Sustain

employees walking inside the warehouse

Lastly, there’s Sustain or shitsuke, which means discipline. This phase focuses on cementing all implemented practices to make them a habit. Moreover, Sustain encourages workers and employers to keep all the steps and rules in the previous 5S to maintain a smooth-sailing working environment.

The main goal here is to establish discipline and commitment among everyone for continuous improvement. Here are some pro tips on how to execute Sustain and yield positive results:

  • Both employees and employers should abide by the rules or systems in place.
  • Companies should invest in seminars and training that can help employees follow the standardized procedure in their work areas. 
  • Tools and equipment needed in specific working stations should also be provided to get jobs done correctly. 
  • Create specific objectives and measurable goals to track the progress of the implemented 5S system. You can also implement regular audits to assess workplace efficiency. 
  • Establish employee performance evaluations to see if the system works. Make sure to celebrate great team performances and make it a point to get their feedback on the implemented 5S system.

The 6th S: Safety

workplace safety - safety first sign

Companies can reap plenty of benefits by successfully implementing the 5S system in the workplace. One of the best outcomes that the 5S lean manufacturing method can achieve is the 6th S, which is Safety.

Furthermore, safety can also stand on its own and be implemented in the workplace as a 6th S. This phase prioritizes employees’ physical and mental safety in their workspace. It aims to give value to human resources by removing potential risks and hazards that come with labor. 

This can range from simply labeling chemicals or eliminating waste to providing quality HVAC systems to avoid aerosol contamination in clinical laboratories. 

Aside from valuing the safety of your workers, it’s also mandated by the law to keep the workplace free from safety hazards. 

How To Implement The 5S System

After understanding the positive effects and impact of the 5S Methodology in a company, it’s time to implement it. Fortunately, a successful implementation only requires the open willingness, cooperation, and contribution of two parties一both employers and employees.

These two should have a unified goal and the heart to put in enough effort to make the 5S system work. Here is some information on what tools and techniques can successfully help launch, implement, and sustain the 5S method in your workplace.

Who Is Involved in 5S?

The simple answer would be everyone. It’s true that employee involvement plays a critical role in the success of 5S, but so does the participation of company leaders (e.g., manager, supervisor) and business owners. 

Other team members may play a bigger role in the implementation, but that doesn’t mean that other workers won’t be involved. This way, there would be no confusion, and everyone in the company would be up-to-date with significant changes.

What Industries Can Benefit From 5S?

workers with tools

Popular industries that already implement the 5S system are manufacturing companies, factories, warehousing, and related industries. But of course, other industries can also significantly improve their work quality and efficiency by using the 5S. Some specific ventures include:

  • Healthcare industry
  • Hotel and restaurant industry
  • Office jobs
  • Information and communication technology
  • Housekeeping or homemaking services
  • Grocery, market, and retail stores

5S Training

Everyone in the company should receive proper training in 5S methodology一from entry-level workers to the upper management department. The 5S training should cover the important pillars of the 5S system, its application, the role of each staff member, and how it can benefit both the company and its employees.

Companies may conduct the training in a classroom setting, virtually, or by using actual demonstrations in the working area.

Additionally, 5S training should be done whenever there are updates or changes in the company SOP and for new employees.

Common 5S Visual Tools

One of the essential parts of implementing the 5S system in the workplace is visual tools. 5S and visual cues work hand-in-hand to create a clean and orderly place that generates productivity within the workers. 

Visual communication tools definitely help people get familiar with spaces and make a place more well-organized. Plus, having these visual reminders and tools greatly reduces the health and safety risks, especially in dangerous work settings.

You can make your work setting a visual workplace by using some of these helpful visual cues:

Floor Marking Tape

You can usually find floor marking tapes in large facilities since OSHA requires some industries to have this. Floor markings are brightly-colored adhesive tapes used in floors to divide spaces, mark hazards, and provide directions. 

floor marking tape

Industrial Printers

Another helpful tool that makes visual communication easier is industrial printers. These high-tech devices allow you to print out different kinds of industrial labels, safety signs, and stickers. You can use them to create a visual workplace by labeling hazardous chemicals or the contents of a specific cabinet. You can even print standardized labeling tags or signs without the help of a PC using the VnM4 Pro Signmaker

Vnm8 industrial printer

Shadow Boards 

A shadow board refers to an organizing tool that outlines the shape of a material to indicate its designated place. This helps workers identify where to place specific tools or what items are missing.

shadow board

Toolbox Foam

A toolbox foam is like a shadow board, except that the latter uses a foam that has its top layer cut out. This way, workers can easily fit specific tools inside the foam to organize and protect them from damages.

Costs Involved with 5S Implementation

Costs may vary depending on the size of the company and how you plan to execute it. But here are two kinds of expenses that your business will probably encounter when starting and implementing the 5S system:

  • Redirected labor cost – providing training for the workers will definitely result in loss of labor hours, which
  • the company can quickly recoup.
  • Cost of materials and goods – this pertains to the expenses your business will probably make to successfully implement 5S, such as visual tools and storage containers.

FAQs About 5S

What is the purpose of 5S?

Ultimately, the 5S system aims to achieve workplace safety, organization, work efficiency, and maximum productivity.

How can 5S be used in different industries?

The 5S methodology isn’t limited to industrial and manufacturing facilities. Any company in every industry can implement it by following the step-by-step process of the 5S so you can discover the solution to your workplace problems.

How does 5S help the business to grow?

Successfully implementing and continuing the 5S program allows companies to increase their productivity and reduce wasted resources. This, in turn, will help the business grow and thrive in its industry.

How does 5S improve safety?

5S enforces cleanliness and orderliness in the workplace to reduce or eliminate safety hazards and health risks.

Is 5S different from kaizen?

Kaizen’s goal is to increase efficiency by making “continuous improvement.” On the other hand, 5S improves efficiency by eliminating waste to establish order and productivity. But they do go hand-in-hand in implementing the lean manufacturing system.

Is there a difference between 5S and Six Sigma?

5S is a strategy that lays down the framework to achieve improvement in all areas of the workplace. It starts from cleaning, organizing, maintaining, and then standardization of these processes. 

On the other hand, six sigma focuses on improving work processes by determining the problem area or removing defects. 

Who should implement 5S?

Companies that want to boost their work productivity, efficiency, and profit can benefit by implementing the 5S.

Why does 5S fail sometimes?

Some factors that can cause the 5S methodology to fail include: wavering employee commitment, lack of direction, and lack of financial resources.

Where do I start with 5S?

Start by understanding how 5S can benefit your company or organization. Next is to pitch the idea to the management and get support from them. From there, you can easily follow the 5S implementation using the details discussed above.

workers sorting boxes

Conclusion

A detailed understanding of the 5S process and 5S procedures brings you one step closer to achieving operational efficiency. So, if you think the 5S methodology can positively benefit your company, then we’re happy to offer our services to you. 

Cobra Systems is the leading provider of unique industrial printing solutions. We can help your company implement the 5S system or lean manufacturing by supplying high quality printers for your 5S signs and labels.

Additionally, our company currently supports customers for their 5S signage that operate within warehousing, distribution, shipping, and logistics.

Get started with your very own stand-alone, seamless signage and label printing solutions by giving us a call at 805-243-3462.

Filed under: 5S Methodology, Blog, NewsTagged with: ,

Your Guide to Safety Signs in the Workplace

no access warning customized safety signs in the workplace

Your business can instantly increase employee safety and reduce risk by adding safety signs in the workplace. It’s important that all people using your facility understand any expectations you have for what they should and should not do on your property. This protects you as an employer or business owner from possible workplace injury lawsuits, and it protects your employees and customers from potential hazards. 

 

Whether you run a retail establishment or a manufacturing facility, safety should be one of your top priorities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2019. While we are used to seeing safety signs on construction sites, any business can provide a safer environment by removing hazards when possible and providing proper signage. 

 

To help you determine what safety signage might be right for your business, we’ll take a look at the importance of safety signs, the different types available, the meaning of colors in safety signage, and which signs might be right for your business. 

 

Why are safety signs important in the workplace?

no access warning customized safety signs in the workplace

In the United States, employers are legally responsible for providing a safe workplace for employees. Apart from legal responsibility, a safe environment also promotes positive company culture and a happier workforce. Safety signage is one important part of an overall health and safety strategy for your business. 

 

Safety signs easily communicate a variety of messages such as

  • where to enter and exit
  • where to go in case of an emergency
  • how to safely navigate the property
  • required personal protection equipment, or PPE
  • dangers to look out for

 

During the pandemic, businesses have also used mandatory signs to show employees or customers what precautions they should take against the spread of COVID-19, such as 

  • wearing masks
  • maintaining social distancing
  • limiting occupancy

 

You can remind employees of special precautions they should take or workplace procedures to follow with your signage as well. There are many different types of safety signs, and you should choose the ones that make sense for your needs. 

 

Types of safety signs

danger deep excavation customized warning signs in a construction site

We’ve all seen safety signs at one time or another, but do you know all the options that are available? Here’s a list of different types of safety signs and their meanings to consider for your business. 

Warning Signs

These are signs that let you know about specific potential hazards nearby. Warning signs include bold text, images, and colors. 

Common warning sign examples include

  • Danger: High Voltage
  • Caution: Watch for Forklift
  • Warning: Unauthorized Personnel Will Be Prosecuted
  • Danger: Do Not Enter

Emergency Signs

Have you ever seen an “emergency exit” sign? That is one of the safety signages in this category. It is among the standard safety signs in the workplace and tells people what to do in case of an emergency. For instance, when there is a fire, the emergency exit points to where people could safely go out of the building.

Mandatory Signs

Most especially now in a pandemic, mandatory safety signs in the workplace are extremely common. This signage category requires people to behave a certain way. For instance, you could see a sign at the entrance of your company’s building that says you should wear a mask or sanitize your hands before you go in. Another example would be signage at the hospital for personnel to wear personal protective equipment or PPE. 

Prohibition Signs

You are probably familiar with the sign with a red circle and a diagonal line across it, covering a lit cigarette. It is a sign of “no smoking.” That is one of the examples of the prohibition sign. If the mandatory sign tells people what to do, the prohibition sign tells them what not to do. 

 

Colors of the Safety Signs and Symbols

According to the Health and Safety Authority, different colors and shapes relay different messages. For instance, the color red is used to denote prohibition or ‘do not’ messages, but blue is used for required actions. This is because people retain information more when they see colors or any illustration. Here are the common colors used in safety signage and their associated meanings. 

Blue

For mandatory signs, blue is the color of choice. It tells what people should do and the items they should be using. Basically, this color signifies commands, such as “wear your personal protective equipment,” that you can commonly see at a hospital or manufacturing facility. This is a good choice, because blue is thought to increase trustworthiness

Green

This color is associated with the emergency category. For many of us, the color green means “go.” When a traffic light turns green, it means you can pass through the intersection. The same thing goes with safety signs. When you see a green emergency sign, that means that you should get going to escape from something.

Red

Red has a long wavelength which makes it more visible to people than other colors. Therefore, it is associated with danger and warning. This is why you can see red on most prohibition signs. Have you ever noticed that the word “ambulance” in an ambulance is written in red? That is because of its readability, thanks to its placement in the color spectrum.

Yellow

Yellow draws your attention better than any other color. In a traffic light, yellow is the sign that warns you to stop because the traffic light will turn red at any second. Yellow is connected to warning signs because it is easy to notice. Yellow letters are not easy to read, so warning signs often have a yellow background and feature a triangle shape. 

 

What safety signs in the workplace should you use?

janitor mopping wet floor next to a customized safety signage

Depending on your type of business, you will need different signs to ensure the health and safety of your employees, customers, and visitors. Apart from common signs for entrance and exit, here are a few other signs you should have. 

 

    1. Slippery floor. Due to the recent health crisis, it is crucial to disinfect high-traffic areas. When cleaned, the floor can get slippery. Because of that, you can probably see this sign in your office. It is also distinct since it comes in yellow color with a black illustration of a man who looks like he’s slipping.
    2. Fire extinguisher. It’s common to have signs that tell you where certain safety tools are located. One example is a sign that tells you where the fire extinguisher is placed. This sign comes in red to let people know that they should leave it alone unless there’s an emergency. 
    3. Wash your hands. Even before the pandemic, these signs were often found in the bathroom near the sink. This sign comes in the color blue since it is a sign that is telling you to do something. It is mandating you to wash or clean your hands. Recently, signs have been added to encourage people to sanitize their hands as well. 
    4. Safety first. These signs are usually green and rectangular in color and remind people that they should think about how to work safely before anything else. Breaking safety protocol can be dangerous to everyone present, and these signs remind employees to consider their actions carefully.
    5. Caution. Is there something in your workplace that people should look out for? Maybe a forklift drives through walking space every now and then, or maybe there’s a step in an unusual location. Let everyone know about it with a caution sign. 

 

Should every business in every industry use safety signs in the workplace?

fire extinguisher custom printed safety sign in the workplace


Yes, every business can benefit from using safety signage in the workplace. When expectations are clearly set, you can look forward to better behavior and a safer work environment. 

Don’t wait until an accident happens. You should have a variety of signs that tell people what to do, what not to do, and advise them of any dangers or hazards that may be present. The clearer you can be, the better. 

Protect yourself, your employees, and your business starting now! Cobra Systems has easy-to-use signage printers you can use to print industry-standard workplace safety signs in-house.

How we can help you ensure a safe workplace environment

We help our clients incorporate the best workplace safety practices to protect themselves, their employees, and their business. If you are looking for industrial signage or safety label solutions, contact us. We are always happy to help.

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