For a long time now, from canaries in the coal mines, to the creation of the first unions in the factories of the early 20th century, we have attempted to create healthy and safe workplaces for our employees.
The objective has always been the same: improve the safety of our employees while at the same time increasing productivity.
Today, when we look back, we see great improvements made in workplace safety. We have established mandatory Employment Standards and government oversight bodies, like Quebec’s CNESST, to maintain and protect these improvements.
Between 2016 and 2017, workplace accidents causing death decreased by 22.5%. Despite these positive statistics, we must keep thinking about next steps in maintaining and improving our workplace safety practices. Through constant improvement we can continue to work in a safe environment, one that allows us to “zen our workplace!”
Workplace accidents: avoidable or inevitable?
Be it inclement weather, the speed of vehicles on the worksite, or constricted access in work areas, the work environment favours many elements over which we have little to no control. In this context, an air of inevitability can set it, encouraging us to overlook potential hazards.
It is absurd, some might say, to expect that a chef working with a knife everyday, will never suffer a cut. It is destined to happen isn’t it?
Nevertheless, the recorded decrease in the number of workplace accidents, deadly and otherwise, over the past several years, is proof that we can make an impact. In fact, workplace procedures are a key element that can be controlled. If they are carried out safely using proven practices, the risk of injury is greatly reduced.
Avior Canada & Shift. zen
IT technologies offer a simple and efficient solution to workplace safety. With the help of Avior Canada, Group Shift has developed a Genba (or Gemba) software for the purpose of implementing and maintaining best workplace health and safety practices. Genba is a Japonese word meaning “*the real place, the place where the actual work is done.” In management terminology it means the workplace or “the place where value is added.” In practice, the idea is simple: go to the shopfloor, take a moment to observe the surroundings, and record what is seen with the goal of maintaining or improving how the work is done.
Keeping with the simplicity of Genba, the software must also be discrete and speedy in order to minimize any impacts on productivity. We have thus created an interface where the user responds to a series of short questions about the workplace environment that they are observing. Then, the user has the option to add further observations or tasks in order to follow up on the collected data. Lastly, the software produces a report that records statistics and thus closes the Genba circle.
In conclusion, even though we are a long way away from the days of canaries in coal mines or the issues faced by workers in past centuries, we still continue to improve our work environment. IT will without a doubt allow us to push past current limits and create healthy and safe workplaces for an ever greater number of people.