Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tool Box Talks: Not Just For Safety Anymore

Many companies have made great improvement in the area of safety in the last ten years but some have begun to plateau. They are looking for that little push to get to the next level.We know based on data that was released by Ron Moore in his book "Making Common Sense Common Practice" that safety has a strong correlation with reliability. So I would suggest that if you want to break through to a new level of safety performance then focus on your organization's reliability.
Photo by Shon Isenhour
How? Treat reliability just like we have safety. Make it everyone's responsibility. Keep it in front of the organization.
Many of us already have a morning tool box meeting where we stand around the tool box and talk about the jobs and the safety aspects of the days work. If you add reliability topics to this discussion as well then this is one way you can  keep the topic in the forefront of everyone's mind. It does not need to be a lecture as we are looking for a short five minute topic. Now this alone will not step change your reliability performance but as part of a balanced diet of other improvement task it can begin to turn the tides on reliability and on safety.
So what does it look like? I have seen it done many ways. In some cases the supervisor covers a topic from a single point lesson or other communication tool or a member of the team researches and covers a topic with the group. Getting a team member involved is great because the individual learns through their research and through teaching while providing the information for others to learn from.
What should we talk about?
I have seen topics that covered task like how to operate the bearing heater for precision installs, or how to choose the correct bolt grade or Loctite type. But I have also seen quick job plan reviews and root cause analysis report outs. As you rotate through you will want to focus on why each topic is important to the individual and the overall improvement effort. The key is to, like safety, keep the organization focused on the goal and the prize.

What topics would you cover?
What other ideas have you used to keep reliability in the organizations eye?


  1. Great post! We have found Quality Management is integral to success in reliability. In our organization we have modeled a quality management program around our HSE program. Similar to how we track near misses and PSI (Pre-job Safety Instruction), quality and reliability is tracked and held accountable.

  2. Good idea this will make listener interesting by changing the topic most of the time. Discussing and explaining problem & solution of machinery parts will improve technical knowledge & this is positive things.