5S and Safety

    /William  /Levinsonspeaker of Training Doyensinvite
    Speaker: William Levinson

    More Trainings by this Expert
    Duration: 60 Minutes
    Product Code: 50139
    Level: Beginner

Labor Day Sale! Use code LBRD20 and enjoy flat 20% off on your purchase.


The webinar will cover the history of 5S, as depicted in the language of money, to help gain buy-in by organizational decision makers. Several aspects of what we now call 5S were clearly visible at the Ford Motor Company during the first part of the 20th century, where they played a central role in the organization's unprecedented world-class performance. Henry Ford also introduced safety techniques such as what we now call lockout-tagout and error proofing; his goal was to make accidents physically impossible as opposed to relying on worker vigilance. "Can't rather than don't" means, for example, that the worker can't put his or her hand in the machinery as opposed to having to remember to not do it.

The webinar will cover the 5Ss in detail, and how they interact to improve the safety, quality, and productivity of operations. It will then go on to discuss safety, including Ford's common sense twelve common root causes of accidents and how to eliminate them. Lockout-tagout, the hiyari hatto ("experience of almost accident situation," which allows any worker to preemptively report a potential safety or quality problem), and the application of management of change (MOC) also will be covered.


5S is a prerequisite for many lean manufacturing activities, and an effective visual workplace in which any observer (such as a worker) can determine the status of a process or activity by simply looking at it. As an example, andon lights announce whether a workstation is available or down for maintenance. Shadow boards, an aspect of Arranging, make the presence or absence of specific tools immediately obvious. A clean workplace similarly makes leaking fluids or dropped parts obvious. All these features of 5S support quality, continuity of operations, and safety.

While 5S is supposedly a relatively new approach, many of its activities date back to the early 20th century (if not earlier), and were deployed with enormous success at the Ford Motor Company. Henry Ford made their value clear, in the language of money, by employing a small army of cleaners, sweepers, and painters to keep his factories clean and orderly.

Ford also described twelve major causes of workplace accidents. Diligent application of Ford's safety methods, 5S, and two clauses of ISO 9001:2015 cross off eleven of these causes, while appropriate clothing addresses the twelfth. Ford's "Can't rather than don't" safety principle is worth memorizing. While nothing in this presentation constitutes formal engineering advice, the guidelines that will be presented should go a long way toward improving workplace safety. 

Attendees in Pennsylvania should meanwhile be aware of the Pennsafe program, which offers a workers' compensation discount to companies with qualified workplace safety committees.  See http://www.dli.pa.gov/Businesses/swif/Safety/Pages/Certified-Safety-Committee-Information.aspx for details.


• Many aspects of 5S date back to the 19th century (if not before), and have delivered proven results in the language of money as demonstrated at the Ford Motor Company and also by Frederick Winslow Taylor, the father of scientific management.
• The 5Ss are:

o Seiri = Clearing Up removes all unnecessary equipment, tools, and materials from the value-adding workplace (gemba). "When in doubt, throw it out."
o Seitori = Arranging creates a place for everything, and keeps everything in its place. This assists single-minute exchange of die (SMED).
o Seiso = Neatness gives defects, dropped parts, leaking fluids, and so on no place to hide.
o Shitsuke = Discipline incorporates Rudyard Kipling's advice, "Mind you keep your rifle and yourself just so!" This includes preventive maintenance.
o Seiketsu = Ongoing Improvement includes preventive thinking and "unbreakable standardization."

• Henry Ford's pioneering safety methods include what we now call lockout-tagout and error proofing.

o Ford defined 12 common accident root causes.
o "Can't rather than don't," i.e. engineering controls or error proofing, crosses off five of these.
o 5S eliminates two more.
o ISO 9001:2015 "Environment for operation of processes" removes two more.
o The ISO 9001:2015 Infrastructure clause disposes of another two.
o Personal protective equipment (PPE) deals with the last.

• Workplace safety committees and safety audits can identify and eliminate proactively many accident causes. The hiyari hatto ("experience of almost accident situation") empowers workers to initiate corrective and preventive action for hazards.


5S (Clearing Up, Arranging, Neatness, Discipline, Ongoing Improvement) is a workplace organization process that supports lean manufacturing aspects such as single-minute exchange of die (SMED) and the visual workplace. It also supports safety, which is sometimes regarded as the 6th S, by removing clutter from the workplace. Many safety techniques are very easy to understand and apply to the shop floor, and they eliminate the root causes of most accidents.


Across Manufacturing, quality, and safety engineers and technicians. Quality Control


Years of Experience: 30+ years

Areas of Expertise: Statistical Process Control, Lean Manufacturing, Quality, ISO 9001, Design Of Experiments, Non-Normal Distributions, Quality Management Systems

William Levinson is the principal of Levinson Productivity Systems, P.C. He is an ASQ Fellow, Certified Quality Engineer, Quality Auditor, Quality Manager, Reliability Engineer, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He holds degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering from Penn State and Cornell Universities, and night school degrees in business administration and applied statistics from Union College, and he has given presentations at the ASQ World Conference, ISO/Lean Six Sigma World Conference, and others.

View all trainings by this speaker

Purchase Options

Recorded Session

Get unlimited access to the link for six months. Login information will be shared 24 hours after the completion of Live webinar


Training DVD or USB Flash Drive

Free shipment within 72 Hours, from the date of webinar completion


refer friend

Approved Enablers of your
Continuing Education Credits

View all CEU Approved Webinars