June is designated “National Safety Month” by the National Safety Council (NSC). The goal of National Safety Month is to increase awareness of the health and safety risks that lead to injury or death in the United States. Here, we provide three examples of goals that may improve facility safety in your location. While these safety goals may be useful in any location, specific objectives and implementation will vary depending on your facility’s needs.
How to Set SMART Goals
Improvement takes careful planning and intentional implementation. Without planning ahead, you risk creating additional hazards or harming processes that work. Productive facility goalsetting relies on process and planning to ensure targets are SMART:
- Specific: Targets a distinct objective
- Measurable: Includes factors that can be tracked to indicate success—or determine failure
- Achievable (Actionable): Progress is viable, and predefined by steps to take toward reaching the goal
- Realistic: The objective is reachable—and relevant to the facility or department
- Time-Bound: There is a clearly defined timeline for goal completion and evaluation
Without these specifics, goals are less likely to succeed. This SMART goal format can be implemented on any scale—from small office organization projects to large production process overhauls. Consider these three timely goals as you plan for National Safety Month—or any time of year. And, no matter the goal, follow the PDCA cycle—Plan, Do, Check, Act—for efficiency and comprehensive solutions.
Goal 1: Improve Navigation by Updating Floor Markings
Floor markings provide clear, easy-to-understand instructions for employees and visitors, but if your floor marking tape and signs are outdated, if traffic patterns have changed, or if current floor markings are damaged, people may be at risk of injury—or even death.
If your facility sees reports of—or close calls involving—incidents between employees and forklifts, your objective may be to separate pedestrian traffic and vehicular traffic to reduce the chance of collision or other causes of injury.
When planning to implement changes to separate traffic flow, first review the current floor marking layout to identify worn, damaged, or outdated markings. Determine how much floor tape must be removed, repaired, or replaced, and create a plan for the messaging you intend to use in this space.
Testing a new traffic pattern may be an ideal first step: This will allow you to determine whether the traffic separation works in the intended space, and can help identify any messaging, lane markings, or other visual cues necessary for clear communication.
To meet goals related to navigation and floor marking, a Kaizen event may be used to remove old floor markings, reapply or refresh existing visual cues, implement visual cues that support Lean/5S initiatives, or add physical barriers where necessary.
Goal 2: Reduce Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common incidents on job sites, but can be easily prevented. The National Safety Council notes more than 800 fall-related deaths and more than 211,000 fall-related injuries requiring time off from work in 2020 alone¹. And, these incidents aren’t strictly due to height: Of these fatal falls, more than 130 were same-level incidents.
First, you must identify the problem areas, determine the causes of STF incidents, and outline steps to mitigate the problem. A combination of employee feedback, self-audits, third-party audits, incident reports, and visual inspections can pinpoint concerns and inform decisions related to implementing changes. In most cases, visual cues, physical barriers, sufficient safety equipment, and proper training can help reduce these types of accidents and injuries.
Goal 3: Reduce Pallet Impact Damage in Warehouse
Not only is pallet impact damage costly, it creates hazards that put warehouse and loading dock employees, forklift drivers, and truck drivers at risk of injury or death. Broken pallets and debris can damage forklifts, contribute to uneven loads and tip hazards, and lead to slip and trip incidents. To reduce impact damage, first explore the main causes: Forklift and vehicular collisions, rough pallet treatment, and overloaded pallets that stick out into the aisles or traveled pathway.
To reduce pallet hazards, these goals and updates may help meet a facility’s safety needs:
- Create a grid on the ground to designate pallet placement using X-, L-, and T-shaped floor markers
- Ensure the aisles are wide enough to allow equipment and loads through—and that they are clearly marked to comply with OSHA guidelines
- Add visual cues to bring attention to forklift swing and keep-clear areas to ensure forklifts, motorized vehicles, and equipment have the space necessary to move
- Improve overall visual communication with floor marking tape, floor signs, posters, and pre-cut floor marking kits
- Remind employees to inspect pallets before loading so only pallets in good repair are being used
- Put the focus on forklift safety and pallet best practices with refresher training for all staff
National Safety Month reminds us all to evaluate our safety processes, and it is an ideal time to look at improving overall safety—but safety is a year-round consideration. For more industrial safety tips, explore our Resource Center.
¹ Source: NSC.org